A group of disparate characters look for understanding and compassion in the midst of a lonely holiday season in this comedy drama. Rose (Susan Sarandon) is a middle-aged divorcée whose mother is in the hospital with an advanced case of Alzheimer's disease; while Rose wants one more chance to tell her mother that she loves her, the woman doesn't even know who she is anymore. Mike (Paul Walker) is a police officer who has become the obsessive focus of an elderly waiter, Artie (Alan Arkin), who is convinced Mike is the reincarnation of his late wife. Meanwhile, Mike is engaged to marry the beautiful Nina (Penélope Cruz), but he's so consumed with jealousy and suspicion that she's not sure if she can go through with the wedding. And Jules (Marcus Thomas) is a street hustler who has only one fond memory of Christmas -- ending up in an emergency room, where the staff was holding a party. Jules wants to relive the experience, and is even willing to injure himself to do so. Noel was the first directorial effort from actor and playwright Chazz Palminteri.