Joyeux Noel (2023) Movie Script

[audio logo]
[whimsical music]
The story takes
place in a charming
little French village
at Christmastime.
In this idyllic
setting, our heroine
lives, a shy, hardworking
maid with dreams as expansive
as the starry winter
sky and a heart
as pure as the
fresh fallen snow.
She moves through her days
with a secret wish tucked deep
within her, a wish for a
love as deep as the rivers,
as enduring as the old stone
bridges of her village.
But such a love seems elusive.
And then the hero comes in.
He's perfect.
He's a doctor, rides horses.
The poor maid locks eyes with
him across the crowded market
and everything else melts away.
And they know, in
that perfect moment,
they're meant to be
together forever.
WOMAN: Leah.
Leah, honey, I know the story,
The Doctor and the Maid.
You made your father read
it to you every night.
Yeah, well, it's my favorite.
Yeah, well, you're not
going to find a husband
in a fairy tale, I'm afraid.
And I hate to say it but, honey,
you're not getting any younger.
Thanks for the reminder, Mom.
What about
Alexander from church?
I've always thought
he was very cute.
Well, cute.
Well... tall.
Can you stop trying to set
me up with every single man
in the city.
And Alexander is way too tall.
I would have neck
pain my entire life.
Besides, I will know
it when I see him.
We'll lock eyes and...
Everything else will melt away.
Sounds lovely.
But I don't think it
always works like that.
And... oh, honey,
I just think you
could be waiting a long time
for something like that.
It's not waiting.
It's being patient.
There's a difference.
And I remember a dad reading me
those stories when I was small.
When he passed, someone
else read it to me.
You did.
You told me stories about how
you met and how amazing he was.
And I don't want to settle
for anything less than that.
Mom, I'm bored.
Hey, this is cute.
But I don't want to leave with
anything that isn't on my list.
All I'm looking for
is a jewelry box...
Wooden, simple, and... elegant.
Well, would you look at that.
It looks just like
the one your father
gave you when you were little.
Exactly, it's perfect.
Good eye.
We just got that in from France.
It used to play a melody.
But the mechanism is broken.
Do you know how old it is?
No idea.
By the condition,
at least 50 years.
Great, I'll take it.
And, uh, this as well.
I thought you weren't
getting anything
that wasn't on your list.
Yes, but the list is...
BOTH: Subject to change.
Hey, someone to
keep you company.
Merry Christmas.
Oh, cute.
So tell me again
how you and dad met.
Ah, we were young...
Much younger than you are now.
Yes, The Doctor
and the Old Maid.
I get it.
Yes, we're here at the
Museum of Modern Art where
they're moments away from
unveiling the brand-new
Christmas exhibition.
The highlight of the
collection undoubtedly
is a piece from an
artist in post-war France
and has been
causing quite a stir
with its enigmatic subject.
[indistinct chatter]
[crowd exclaiming]
It's a... painting.
[camera shutter clicks]
What's the big deal?
It's the mystery of
it, an unknown artist.
It's romantic.
It brings up so many
interesting questions.
Who is this woman?
Where was it painted?
When did she...
When's lunch?
Come on, Mark.
You don't feel anything
when you look at this?
I feel... like we
both should be covering
something more important.
Well, we saw it.
Come on, Brian.
Let's go.
REPORTER (ON TV): And while we
don't know the artist's name,
the painting is
dedicated to someone
named Ma Fleur, which translates
from the French to "my flower."
And... come on, what a
dedication, so romantic.
The only identifying information
we have is the signature
of the artist with just
the letter F. This piece,
alongside its story, is sure to
be the talk of the new exhibit.
[gentle music]
Do you know what
"March de Noel" means?
I took Spanish in high school.
And I don't even remember that.
It means "Christmas Market."
They pop up every winter in
various towns across Europe.
They're quaint, romantic
festivals with twinkling
lights and cozy drinks.
And this journal is all about
finding love... true love
at the Christmas market
in a French village
called Petit Marchand.
It's a love story.
Well, the drawing does
look similar to the painting.
OK, now, look at the signature.
Huh, you have my full attention.
What does it say?
OK, so F recounts
the story of falling
in love with Ma Fleur
on the first night
of the March de Noel, right?
And he talks about
the legend of the town
that you are destined
to meet your soulmate
at Le March de Noel.
And he's sure that
he's found his.
And him and Ma Fleur both
know that her parents
wouldn't approve.
So they meet secretly
every night at the market.
And after he proposes,
they decide to elope.
Very Romeo and Juliet.
Without the tragic
ending, I hope.
It actually doesn't even
have an ending at all.
The last few pages
are missing, so...
Sounds like the kind
of human interest story
The Post would love.
Except I am not a journalist.
I think this story could
bring you up to the majors.
You know, maybe I should
buy a ticket to France
and visit that magical town,
find my perfect soulmate,
and finally finish
a writing sample
that I am proud to submit.
Leah, you're passionate,
articulate, driven, more
optimistic than anyone I know.
You'd be a great journalist.
But waiting for the perfect
moment or the perfect writing
sample to fall
into your lap isn't
going to get you anywhere.
Well, hey, biding my
time to get what's right
isn't always a bad thing.
If you're happy
being a copy editor.
Hey, copy editor,
finish proofreading
the Johnson article?
I am.
It should be in your inbox.
Oh, but I did notice
a couple of times
that you have misused
the word "disinterested."
It's a common
misconception, you know.
While most people think it means
just simply not interested,
it actually refers to
a lack of bias or being
fair and impartial, such
as a disinterested judge
or a disinterested journalist.
Mm, did you fix it?
I did.
Well, you always fix it.
So to be honest, I am rather...
I would think that a
journalist would care
about the English language.
I find it hard to
believe that Moody
Mark could care about anything.
WOMAN: Company meeting... now.
So... bad news.
Our annual holiday
issue headliner
has fallen into the abyss.
So we need something new.
And we need something fast.
Who's got a lead?
How about a story
on the soup kitchen?
Mm, we aren't just writing
about businesses in peril.
Where's the heart?
Tell me the story
about the woman
who quits her job, moves
back to her hometown,
crosses paths with her
high school sweetheart who
volunteers at the
soup kitchen, and now
they keep it open together.
Now, I want that story.
Really, people, nothing?
Need I remind you, this
is our biggest seller.
This is important to
The Post's bottom line.
You know that new
painting at the Museum
of Modern Art, the one the whole
city has been buzzing about?
Leah found the diary
of the painter.
Oh, well, I'm listening, Leah.
What is Christmas about...
If not bringing people together?
The year's 1959 in the French
village of Petit Marchand,
where local legend has it you're
destined to meet your soulmate.
It's a love story
between two young lovers
forbidden from being together.
But under the twinkling
lights of the March Noel,
they promise each
other their future.
And they make a plan to escape.
And together, they
create this painting
and also a love
that still inspires
the public decades later.
So what happened
to them since then?
Did they ever find their
happily ever after?
That's what I'd
like to find out.
Mystery, romance, Christmas...
I love it.
So is this couple
still together?
I don't know.
But based on, you know, how
he writes about his love,
I'd bet on it.
Well, I hope you're right.
Nobody wants a tragic
ending at Christmas.
Emilio, start looking at
flights to Petit Marchand.
You're really going for this?
Oh, no, Mark, you are.
Now, you need to get to
France in the morning,
so you better get packing.
Uh, what?
Hmm, yeah.
You're assigning me
a Christmas puff piece.
Yes, I am.
I have been on the
ground in refugee camps.
I have covered places other
reporters refused to go.
And you are under
utilizing my skills.
Mark, you are the best
reporter that we have here.
You know how to go overseas
and work out a story.
And I need someone
of your caliber
to drive this story home.
I'm the only one available.
You're the only one available.
Thank you.
[light music]
Oh, hey, good pitch
back there, Leah.
Will you make sure Mark gets
the journal to take with him?
Actually, I'd like to
talk to you about that.
I want to write the piece.
You're a copy editor,
not a journalist.
Well, no, not... not yet.
Noted, but this is a
big seller for The Post.
Look, I... I can't assign
a story to someone
who hasn't written for us yet.
What if I flew myself out?
I could use my vacation days.
This piece is important to me.
I've been reading The
Post my entire life.
And to see my name on the
page would mean the world.
Give me this chance.
And... technically, the
journal belongs to me.
OK... yes?
Mark, Leah's going with you.
Work with her.
I look forward to
working with you.
No, you don't.
You're right.
But I do look forward
to being in France
and unearthing a
beautiful love story.
Find your enthusiasm concerning.
The proper word you're
looking for is disconcerting.
You're speaking to me concerning
my disconcerting enthusiasm.
Wow, so much fun already.
["jingle bells" playing]
Never even left
the country before.
What am I supposed to pack?
Does my hair dryer
work in France?
Do they even have
hair dryers in France?
I mean, they must,
otherwise the French people
are just walking around
with wet hair, which seems...
LEAH: What?
I'm just proud of you.
That's all.
Finally getting the
shot you deserve.
Thank you.
Now, the legend says
you meet your soulmate
in this Christmas market, yeah?
So should I plan for a plus
one at Christmas dinner?
If there happens to be a doctor.
MOM: Who's not too tall.
["jingle bells" playing]... ride
in a one horse open sleigh.
MARK: Not the sad eyes.
Don't you dare.
I'm only gone a week.
And besides, you get to
hang with Emma next door.
I know she sneaks you
scraps under the table.
Come in.
Hi, Mark.
You'll take good care
of my boy, right?
I will.
We're having spaghetti tonight.
Wait... no spaghetti.
EMMA: Bye.
Buddy gets special food.
I made enough to last a week.
[upbeat music]
[singing in french]
So... I put together
a strategy so we
can hit the ground running.
It's a comprehensive,
multi-point plan.
I was thinking we could
use the journal as our guide
and recreate the activities
that F and Ma Fleur
did the night they met
at Le March de Noel,
you know, see things
from their perspective,
discover every little detail
that brought them together.
I scheduled it by day.
I also scoured the
journal for clues.
That list is here.
There's one thing
I can't figure out.
F mentions that he would
hide notes for Ma Fleur
under a loose stone
behind la glace, which
translates to "behind the ice,"
which doesn't even make sense.
Can you at least pretend
like you care about this.
Look, I get all that.
Really, I do.
And, um, that's actually
really well put together.
Thank you.
But the way you're going
about it, it makes it seem...
Green, new, fresh.
I know what green means.
Besides, I am all
those things, OK?
So how would you approach
it, you know, being so wise
and, uh, what's the
opposite of green?
Uh, ripe or spoiled?
I prefer to let go of the plan...
[blows air] Wing it.
Yeah, uh, winging it
isn't exactly my style.
Look, in this line
of work, you need
to develop a skill
for adapting, starting
by adapting to your time zone.
We're jetlagged, and you didn't
sleep at all on the plane, so...
I was too excited on the plane.
It was my first flight internationally,
so I couldn't sleep.
You're exhausted.
I'm exhausted.
A journalist who's
falling asleep
isn't any good to anybody.
So let's close our eyes
and get some rest, yeah.
OK, so once you have
your beauty sleep,
how do you suggest
we find this couple?
We find what we can online.
And then we go
boots on the ground.
Someone in this town has to know
what happened to the couple.
So we play to the hearts
and minds of the locals.
Hearts and minds?
It's a military term.
We get them working for us.
Gee, you don't
have any experience
working for the military?
No, but...
I have nothing but respect
and admiration for them.
That was a rhetorical question.
And I used rhetoric
in my answer.
For the record, la
glace doesn't mean ice.
It means ice cream.
Behind the ice cream
doesn't even make sense.
Besides, words can have
multiple meanings, you know.
But which one will be
right for this situation?
Bet it'll be ice cream.
[singing in french]
MARK: All this Christmas
kitsch, little bit much,
don't you think?
Pere Fouettard.
[children laughing]
You know, there's no
way this F and Ma Fleur
are still together, eh?
Don't put that out there.
What we say or
do or think now is
it going to change what happened
to this couple of decades ago.
No, not with that attitude.
So clearly we have different
approaches to this.
You know, we don't
necessarily have to...
Work side by side on this.
Yeah, maybe it's more
efficient if we split
up, do things our own way.
We'd cover more ground.
Yeah, and I'm sure it'll
be a more pleasant experience
for the both of us.
OK, so where is your first step?
Bed and breakfast,
specifically the bed part.
Perfect, you can take my bags.
[suitcases rattling]
[upbeat music]
[singing in french]
Ah, bonjour.
I am Camille.
Welcome to my inn.
Uh, this is Sophie, [french].
Checking in, monsieur?
Yeah, hi, for Mark
Webber and Leah...
My colleague Leah.
Ah, the American reporters.
You must be very tired
after your long trip, no?
Absolutely exhausted.
Thank you for asking.
Room three.
[singing in french]
[merry-go-round music]
[speaking french]
Uh, [stammering] chocolate, uh,
[french] hot... hot chocolate.
Yes, oui, that.
Oh, chestnuts.
Oh, hot chestnuts.
Yes, oui, merci.
[speaking french]
Yeah, sure, whatever that is.
[chuckles] Wow, Mark
is really missing out.
No, merci.
[door opens]
Hot chocolate and
roasted chestnuts?
That's a...
[clears throat] very kind
of... you could just leave...
Um, there.
Is it fun being reporter?
Um, uh, yeah,
sometimes it can be.
I want to be a
reporter when I grow up.
I'm very observant.
I'll tell you what.
I'll give you your
first mission, OK?
You be my eyes and ears here.
And right now, that
means letting me sleep.
And what if I find
anything important?
Well, if it's really important...
You tell me... later,
way after I wake up.
Yes, sir.
You can count on me.
Au revoir.
Backwards... uh, excuse me.
Bonjour, uh, do
you speak English?
Yes, OK, good.
Do you know where the
Hall of Records is?
Oh, [french].
It burned down in 1977.
Anything prior to that
was lost in the fire.
All right.
Hello, Sophie... again.
Sorry to bother you, but
you told me to wake you up
if I found anything important.
I don't recall wording
it exactly like that.
I noticed your work partner
still has not arrived.
And that's really
important to you?
It would be if I was in a new
country with another reporter
and she had not checked
in for hours and I
cared about her well-being.
I did a good job, no?
Yeah, sure.
Good job, kiddo.
["silent night" playing]
[indistinct chatter]
[light music]
[speaking french]
Oh, pardon.
[whimsical music]
MARK: There you are.
Come on, Sleeping Beauty.
Let's get you back to the inn.
Yeah, OK.
Yeah, come on.
This way.
You all right?
MOM (ON PHONE): Did you find
your perfectly average height
No, but the setting is
perfect, the quaint stalls
and the cobblestone streets.
Whoa, who's that?
He's handsome.
Oh, Mother.
I've got to go, mom.
I love you.
What's this I hear
about the hunt
for an average height doctor?
Would you like a
pain au chocolate?
Some coffee for
me, please, Camille.
Yeah, mine was delicious.
Thank you, Camille.
I see you've left no gifts
for the gnomes last night.
Mm, no, we have not.
Should we have?
If you don't leave
any gifts, the gnomes,
they will play tricks on you.
What kind of gifts
should we leave?
Chocolates or toys, a macaron.
Just leave it outside your
bedroom door at night.
And, um, these gnomes, do
they give good luck as well?
If they're feeling friendly.
OK, that's about enough of that.
We should get to work.
Yes, uh, thank
you for breakfast,
Camille, and you too Sophie.
Oh, uh, one more thing.
What is the most common
meaning of la glace?
Ice cream.
LEAH: So I already looked
at the Hall of Records.
MARK: That's a dead end.
Burned down before 1977.
LEAH: Wait, how
did you know that?
Well, you were running
yourself ragged yesterday,
I got some rest and
simply looked it
up online, because
you could just
Google things like a reporter.
OK, but maybe the records
are archived regionally.
Nope, I already checked.
Uh, what else is
there on your agenda?
[clears throat]
Look, um, I know
I said yesterday
that we should work separately.
But... you are more experienced,
so maybe there's a thing
or two I could learn from you.
Well, that was very brave, yet
embarrassing of you to admit.
I respect it.
All right, well,
don't make me regret it.
Where will we start?
With the tangible clues.
Let me see the music box.
F hired a woodworker to custom
make this for Ma Fleur, right?
And there's a symbol
here on the top.
If we can figure
out what this means,
maybe we can get
somewhere with the story.
I'm guessing you
already googled it.
Hey, you're learning.
Well done.
Unfortunately, there's
nothing available online.
I had the tech department
at The Post run
some photo recognition
software on it,
which turned up exactly
nothing, which is why we are
starting with an interview...
[snaps] here.
This is your first one, so
you let me do the talking.
I'll show you how it's done.
Bonjour, monsieur, I... [french].
Oui, I certainly do.
Always happy for a chance
to practice my English.
Well, that's lucky
for you, because, uh,
my Francais is, uh,
pretty terrible.
So hi, I'm Mark.
This is Leah.
Your work is beautiful.
Bernard Du Bois.
Welcome to [french].
Um, so this... this, uh,
box was made here in Petit
Marchand sometime in the 1950s.
Do you recognize it?
Do you know anything about it?
Excellent... um, artisinal...
The English escapes me...
Uh, craftsmanship.
Oui, voila, merci.
But, um, I cannot tell you much.
This symbol is likely the mark
of the woodworker who made it.
But not ones that I recognize.
Hmm, um, do the names F and
Ma Fleur mean anything to you?
I apologize.
I cannot be of more, um... um...
[snaps] [french].
Aid... aid.
You're apologizing for not
being able to help more.
Help, merci
beaucoup, mademoiselle.
LEAH: Thank you.
Oh, uh, one more thing.
Do you believe in the
legend that you're
destined to meet your
soulmate at the March Noel?
I have seen many
people fall in love here.
My parents fell in love at
Le March Noel, my brother.
I haven't found my love yet.
But I believe she's on her way.
I'm always late, so it makes
sense that she would be too.
All right, time to go.
Thank you so much, Bernard.
Nice to meet you.
LEAH: Au revoir.
So... that's how it's done, huh?
Every lead we check
off is a step closer.
Well, it seems like
there might be something
to this legend after all.
People do fall in love here.
Hmm, and how much tourism
does that little legend
bring to town?
I'm sure they're all very
happy to perpetuate it.
Was that an act back there?
Do you just pretend to be
charming to get your way?
No, I am charming,
just when it suits me.
There's a difference.
OK, if you say so.
[whimsical music]
MARK: This music box,
do you recognize it?
Do you know anything about it?
LEAH: We work in a newspaper.
And we are writing an
article about le march.
MARK: No, no, no.
We're not looking to buy.
We're, uh, journalists.
LEAH: Actually,
we were wondering
if we could ask you a few
questions about your shop.
MARK: We're looking for a
loose stone below la glace.
LEAH: Can you tell us
anything about, uh, the...
MARK: We were hoping
we could ask you
a few questions about your...
LEAH: May we ask
you a few questions?
MARK: Do you mind if
I take a look around?
Look, I know you're the pro.
But how do you feel about
switching strategies?
Hey, you know what?
You think you could do better
than established protocol...
Be my guest.
And you'll go along with it?
I will go along with it.
You won't regret it.
You might actually
have some fun.
So I'm thinking we go
back to our original plan,
do what F and Ma Fleur
did the night they met,
see things from
their perspective.
I really think if we
can recreate the night,
you know, that perfect moment,
we can unlock the story.
Cool, I'm glad you're on board.
So F and Ma Fleur met when he
was dancing with his friends
by the musicians.
And she walked by,
and he accidentally
knocked a pomme d'amour
out of her hand.
Pomme d'amour?
Apple of love.
That's what they call
candied apples here.
I know.
Do you want one?
One, please.
OK, so now you...
Uh, you go and dance.
And when I walk by, you
knock this out of my hand.
You said you'd
go along with this.
Go, OK.
Come on.
I know you can bust a move.
Just... OK, what kind
of dance do you know?
I danced ballroom...
Briefly in high school.
I will not explain further.
OK, uh, then ballroom and
knock this out of my hand.
[upbeat music]
[music continues]
[blows air] Tourists.
- We should go.
- We should go right now.
Yeah, let's go.
Let's just go.
So that was the perfect
moment, a candied apple.
Not just.
They... went on a walk
after meeting to get
to know each other better.
And then they shared
their first kiss...
In front of the big tree.
It's beautiful.
It's a tree.
What's your deal with Christmas?
What do you mean?
Any time anyone brings up
anything about Christmas,
you get all pessimistic.
And not just like neutral, you
become such a downer about it.
There's something
going on there.
You know what?
I'm going to turn
this around for you.
I have faith.
OK, this is our perfect moment.
Dip me.
F dipped Ma Fleur in
front of the big tree
and then they shared
their first kiss.
So dip me.
No kiss necessary.
Do I have to make fun of
your ballroom dancing?
Do I have to make fun of
your quest for a short doctor?
Average... I said average height.
Come on.
Get to dipping.
MARK: [clears throat]
That's the symbol.
[upbeat music]
I told you.
It worked.
It's the same woodworker symbol.
Whomever made this stand must
have custom made the music
box for our painter, right?
Exactly, except it's
whoever, not whomever.
not object-pronoun.
Um, I'm going to take
the lead on this one.
I found the clues that
brought us here, so... bonjour.
Bonjour... oh, what a
cute couple you two are.
[french], , I have the perfect
cookie for the perfect night.
Tell me your names, I'll
make one special for you.
Yes, except we are not together.
I mean, we are
technically together
as we are here together.
But we are not a couple...
Coworkers, [french].
I can see the March
Noel at work here,
perhaps more than
coworkers soon enough.
Right, so we work
at a newspaper.
And we are writing an
article about the market.
May we ask you a few questions?
[french], , I
would love to help.
But Christmas is our busiest
time of the year at the bakery.
I'm afraid I'm out of time.
Just like a few little
seconds, s'il vous plait.
Madam, [french].
As you can see, it's crowded.
There's so many people.
I cannot do this.
I'm sorry.
I love that big one in the back.
Could you personalize it for us?
Leah and Mark with a K.
Mark with a K, right away.
Ah, say, mate, how long
has this stand been around?
Oh, we've had the
bakery since just
after the Second World War.
Been in my family since my
grandfather built the stand.
He built it himself.
That's impressive.
Oh, he was an impressive man.
Baker, wood worker,
carpenter, you know, he
loved working with his hands.
And this symbol up here, can
you us anything about that?
And here you are Mark
with a K. Sorry, very busy.
That'll be 8 euros.
You know, we...
We forgot to get one
for Sophie at the inn.
Can we get another
one for Sophie, please?
Right away, sir, Sophie.
[clears throat]
[french] symbol, it was actually
my grandfather's trademark.
He was the best in town, you
know, like creme de la creme
That's how people knew
they were buying quality.
[speaking french] Here you are.
Oh, actually, you know what?
That one in the back
is... looks really good.
Um, and your grandfather,
did he put that symbol
on everything that he made?
Oh, yes, he did.
Grandpere would have the
recipients name on everything
he sold for them to find.
That was his little
game, you know.
If he made a gift for you, he
would a hidden mark with a K.
You know what?
We'll take this
whole row right here.
Your grandfather, he didn't...
He didn't keep sales records,
did he?
Oh, no.
All gone years ago.
Um, that'll be 75 euros.
Oh, wow.
It's so nice to meet you.
Thank you.
Yes, thank...
Pay the man.
You know what's funny...
Snow, the cobblestone
streets, your doctor...
Reminds me of this
kid's book my mom used
to read me when I was little.
The Doctor and the Maid.
You know it.
Yeah, it's my favorite book.
Yeah, it was my
mom's favorite too.
[gentle music]
[fire crackling]
[indistinct chatter]
So it took me a while to
find, but do you remember,
he said his grandfather would
engrave the name of the person
the piece was made for.
And so... voila.
Ava Auclair, our Ma Fleur.
Well done.
Thank you.
And just like you,
I used the internet.
And according to
recent census records,
there are no Auclairs is
currently living in town.
But I did find this...
A photograph labeled Ava
Auclair Petit Marchand 1955.
Photographer uncredited.
You did good.
Well... I...
I did well.
Uh... good is an adjective.
Well is an adverb.
Just take the compliment.
Good... I did good.
Thank you.
And for you, Leah?
Uh, a croissant au
chocolate, s'il vous plait.
So do you see the
townhome in the picture?
It's a much less
abstract version
of the one in the painting.
It looks like the townhomes
by the cathedral, the street
with all the Christmas lights.
Thank you, Sophie.
That's actually very helpful.
Observant, sign
of a good reporter.
In France, we have
chocolate for breakfast.
There's salt. That's salt.
Those silly gnomes.
I'm guessing you didn't
leave any gift for them.
[church bells tolling]
It's like this
building doesn't exist.
I mean, none of
them quite line up.
Yeah, and we've been
on it all afternoon.
So at what point do we just say
it's a dead end and move on?
You know what?
Maybe the journal might help.
Let's see.
So on the second day of the
market, the two young lovers...
Rode a horse-drawn carriage...
to see the Christmas lights.
What do you say?
Worked for us last night?
No, last night was pure luck.
And, uh, I think we checked
every house in the area.
It's not going to
magically change
if we take a carriage ride.
[children yelling]
LEAH: Pere Noel, Santa Claus.
La Pere Fouettard.
Oh, oh.
Oh, whoa.
[children laughing]
Ow, why do these
kids keep kicking me?
We should go.
[overlapping speech]
MARK: Well, it isn't exactly
a horse-drawn carriage,
but it'll do.
At least I can practice
my, uh, princess wave.
Like a homecoming queen.
Yeah, well, my mom wanted
me to be homecoming queen.
Imagine her disappointment
when I ended up doing Model UN.
No, no, no, I'm only
saying that because you
are talking to a delegate
Mark Webber UN Ambassador
to the United Kingdom.
Hey, there.
How you doing?
I went to a national
conference, did a whole speech
on nuclear non-proliferation.
Got ripped to shreds.
Nuclear non-proliferation
was my subject.
Hmm, and I knew you were a nerd.
I didn't know that you
were my kind of nerd.
I could see how this
setting would be romantic...
Under different circumstances.
Oh, different as
in with a handsome
doctor instead of your grumpy
but charming co-worker?
So you're... you're pretty sold
on the whole love story thing.
Do you mind if I ask
where that comes from?
Uh, my dad passed
away when I was a kid.
You know, and he left my
mom with five children
under the age of nine, which
was really hard for her
and really tough on us.
Thank you.
Uh, but he's the reason
I believe in true love,
the way my mom talks about him.
But they never got
their happy ending.
So... I guess I've always
been looking for it.
Have you ever been in love?
Didn't work out.
Why not?
I always wanted a big family.
She didn't.
Put an expiration
date on things.
I always kind of
pictured you as a loner.
Well, full of surprises.
LEAH: Yeah.
Hey, excuse me, sir.
Stop the trolley.
[suspenseful music]
Wait, show me the picture.
MARK: That's it, right?
That's the door.
Yes, well done, Delegate Webber.
Bonjour, [french].
Hi, my name is Mark.
This is Leah.
They call me Marguerite.
We were hoping we
could ask a few questions
about your lovely town home.
I'm not interested in selling.
I'm sorry.
Oh, no, no.
We're not looking to buy.
We're journalists from the US.
Journalists, how intriguing.
But it's a very busy
time for me, I'm afraid.
I'm in the middle of
wrapping Christmas gifts
for my nieces and nephews.
And there are many...
So many.
Au revoir.
I'm actually really
great at wrapping gifts.
And we would be happy to help.
Wouldn't we, Mark?
I love it.
It's my favorite pastime.
So kind.
So generous.
Uh, come in.
Come in.
Hearts and minds.
I'm one of six children.
And they have all decided
to make many little babies.
I'm the oldest of
five, so I get it.
So tell me, what
brings two beautiful,
fancy American reporters all
the way to my petite maison?
Oh, well, a photograph of a
girl in front of this townhome.
Do you happen to know
anything about Ava Auclair?
Mais oui.
My parents bought this
home from a family Auclair
a long time ago.
I was not here yet,
a star in heaven
waiting to make my entrance.
Um, and, uh, did your parents
happen to mention anything
about the Auclairs to you?
Not much.
I only know that they
used to own the ice
cream shop in town, La Glacier.
Ice cream shop.
Because that's what
I heard was ice cream.
I just want to...
Seems like it was...
Do you mind if I
take a look around?
Oh, feel free.
Each item was acquired
over a lifetime of holidays.
Is there anything left in
the house from the Auclairs?
I cannot imagine anything
but the walls, the windows,
the floors beneath us.
Do you believe in
the legend, Marguerite,
that you're destined
to meet your soulmate
at the March de Noel?
For me, it is not real.
Every year, I sat on
the bench in the middle
of Le March waiting
for my Prince Charming
to whisk me away.
He never did.
I haven't been in years.
Perhaps Le March and
perhaps love are not for me.
But what if your prince
is just around the corner?
You shouldn't give up on love,
especially around Christmas.
Apologies, Marguerite.
Leah has a very idealistic
view of romance.
Oh, my darling, so do
I. Even as a little girl,
I imagined that my love, mon
amour, lived in this house,
And that... this was my
house just over the bridge.
Oh, well, there's your problem.
The bridge isn't big enough
to go over the water.
MARGUERITE: [chuckles]
Mm-hmm, I have had many
bridges over the years...
Too big, too small, no,
not quite the right size.
I actually think I know
someone who can help you.
[train horn blowing]
You are full of surprises.
OK, I told you.
So what did F and
Ma Fleur do next?
I'm not sure how to
explain it, but I admit,
your strategy has
been working for us.
OK, uh, well, after the
boat, they danced to the music
of the street musicians.
Am I going to regret this?
Come on.
Let's put your ballroom
moves to good use.
It was nice of you to, um,
set up Marguerite and Bernard.
Eh, she needed a bridge.
Hmm, come on, now, Mark Webber.
Don't deny it.
You knew what you were doing.
Well, maybe.
Maybe your positivity might
actually be rubbing off on me.
Believe it or not, I did get
into journalism to help people.
Is it that hard to believe
that Moody Mark might
actually care about something?
Yeah, don't worry.
I know people call me that.
In fact, I started it
so everyone would leave
me alone and let me write.
Interesting tactic.
[upbeat music]
All right.
[music continues]
I spent a lot of
time over the years
telling stories for
people who aren't
capable of telling their own.
After all that, coming
back to the office,
I guess, small talk,
it felt superficial.
So I became Moody Mark.
People don't bother Moody Mark.
They let me come
and go, do my work.
It's easier that way.
Yeah, I could see how
a puff piece like this
would feel frivolous
in comparison.
But for me, it was
beautiful stories
like these that kept me going.
When my mom was working, I
would tell my younger siblings
uplifting stories from The Post,
especially around Christmas.
I've seen firsthand how a
little joy and a little hope
can make a difference
in someone's life.
Kind of always dreamed of having
my name printed next to them.
My parents divorced when I was
young and I was an only child.
I always wondered what Christmas
would be like for a big family.
Well, it may be a
shock to your system,
but you're always
welcome to ours.
I'm hosting this year.
OK, I just might
take you up on that.
[upbeat music]
We should, uh...
I mean, it's getting
late so we should go...
Yeah, yeah, after you.
For the gnomes.
Good night.
Leah, good night.
Good night.
[door closes]
Why does your
face look like that?
Shouldn't you be at sleep?
I'm French.
I stay up late.
Tell me, Sophie, why do you
want to be a reporter anyway?
I like to know why things
are the way they are.
And I like to ask questions.
You know, that's actually
a really good strategy.
You ask why until you
can't ask why anymore.
And then you've gotten to
the bottom of the story.
You remind me of me
when I was a kid.
I liked to ask
annoying questions too.
[blows air]
And now you don't like anything.
Thanks for the cookie
with my name by the way.
It wasn't me.
SOPHIE: Leah said it was.
Leah's wrong.
Leah's nice and beautiful, no?
OK, goodnight, Sophie.
You should leave
gifts for the gnomes.
Maybe they can help you.
Good night, Sophie.
[upbeat music]
Did you see Samantha's email?
She wants to know if
we have anything yet.
What do we tell her?
Don't worry about Samantha.
She's like this
on every article.
We're fine.
We're on the right track.
Oh, chocolate croissant?
Mark ordered it for you.
In France, we eat chocolate
for breakfast, right?
- Yeah.
- And nothing for me, Camille.
Thank you.
Wouldn't want the gnomes
to play another trick
on me this morning.
Mm, OK, I know you usually
only have coffee for breakfast,
but you need to try this.
It's delicious.
I'm good, thank you.
But I...
Yeah, I know you
thrive on being no fun.
Just try it.
Trust me. just got to try it.
Oh, wow.
Oh, wow, that is good.
Sophie, I'm going to need like
two or three dozen more of...
See, I knew you'd like it.
Come on.
Let's go for hot chocolates.
Not the gnomes.
How did they find me?
SOPHIE: [giggles]
Do you think the ice
cream shop has pastries too?
Yeah, I would think so.
[speaking french]
Why do kids keep
saying that to me?
I don't know.
It's weird.
Thank you.
Some ice cream, or a crepe,
or perhaps a hot chocolate?
I will have a hot chocolate.
Make it two.
Sounds good.
Actually, we had some
questions about your shop,
if you don't mind.
No, we don't mind at all.
It would be a pleasure.
Can you tell us anything
about the Auclairs?
They used to own
the shop previously.
Oh, that was so long ago.
They were nice people, I recall.
I believe they moved
away from Petit Marchand.
Beyond that, I don't know.
Did you ever know their
daughter, Ava Auclair?
I did not.
No, no.
But that takes me back.
Do you remember, Vivian?
We were young and newly married
when we bought this shop.
We fell in love right
there at Le March Noel.
And we wanted so desperately
to own a piece of the town.
Between everyone here, you all
believe in legend of the town?
We have a first-hand
account right here.
What else do you need?
Pierre and I had been
at school together.
He was... how you say...
And I was a bit wild.
I never gave him a glance.
She was intimidating
for a quiet boy like me.
And it was there at the market.
He was working the pretzel
stand for his uncle.
And I saw him in
a different light.
The magic of the market.
Is it magic though?
Uh, who's to say you
wouldn't have met and fallen
in love someplace else?
I believe there is magic.
Or maybe there's,
um, a placebo effect.
If you expect to
meet your partner,
the odds of it happening go up.
Placebo or not, we
are all very happy.
Well, absolutely
no argument there.
Thank you so much for your
time and this delicious hot
But before we go, since la glace
means ice cream... and we all
know la glace means ice cream...
We're looking for a loose
stone below la glace.
Does that mean anything to you?
No, I'm afraid not.
[bells jingling]
So what do you think?
Is this legend still
a publicity stunt?
Hmm, they seem
like the real deal.
I think you may be
cracking, Mark Webber.
What is that?
Is that a way out of
this conversation?
Hold on.
This is La Pere Fouettard.
This is what these
kids keep calling me.
I guess so.
What even is La Pere Fouettard?
In France, he is known
for accompanying Santa and...
Dispensing whippings
to naughty children.
Come on.
I mean, you kind
of give off a vibe.
There is... a vast difference
between Moody Mark and, uh,
whatever that is.
Here, try the cloak on.
Do you mind?
Thank you.
You got to like...
You got to just...
It's way different.
Do the... do the...
Yeah, you're right.
I don't see it.
Children, Pere Fouettard!
Pere Fouettard!
[children yelling]
Ow, oh.
You better be nice or you're
all getting coal this year.
Ah, oh, OK.
Oh, we got to go.
Oh, we need to go right now.
Oh, excuse me.
[indistinct yelling]
Ah, tourista.
LEAH: [scoffs]
So OK, it's, uh, right here,
outside of this cathedral,
after knowing each other
for only three days,
that F proposed to Ma Fleur.
Three days.
You don't think
that's a little quick?
Do you have a
timeline on true love?
When you know, you know.
No, I think true love takes
time, trust, pragmatism.
Ah, yes, the key to every
woman's heart... pragmatism.
So I'm not proposing
to you, for the record.
And agreed.
When I get proposed to,
I want it to be for real.
So what's next?
Well, to celebrate
their engagement,
they rode the carousel.
But we could just skip that.
That's it?
You... you have made me
do every activity so far.
And you don't want
to go to a carousel.
Well, you're generally pretty
opposed to the concept of fun.
So we could just let it go.
No, absolutely not.
What would you possibly
have against carousels?
I just get terrible
motion sickness.
And I don't love horses.
Didn't the doctor ride a horse
in The Doctor and The Maid?
You got to face
that fear sometime.
Come on.
Maybe it'll lead to
a, uh, perfect moment.
Come on.
Let's go.
LEAH: [sighs]
OK, I guess you've been a good
sport, so it goes both ways.
I think so.
Hello, bonjour.
Can we ride?
Ah, oui, monsieur.
After you.
Excellent choice.
Thank you.
Oh, OK.
Ah, OK, wow.
This is actually fun.
Thank you for the extra push.
Hey, you have been making me
do things around town all week.
Figure now we're even.
Fair enough.
You can have this one.
Oh... oh, what?
Was that can I have this one?
You may have this one.
Ah, the student
becomes the master.
LEAH: [sighs]
MARK: [laughing]
You OK?
MARK: [laughing]
So what next?
Uh, well, F gave Ma Fleur
an ornament as a placeholder
until he could get a ring.
OK, so the ornaments stand then?
Let's go.
Oh, this reminds me of my mom.
She's big into crafting.
Oh, yeah?
What would she craft?
Um, jewelry, journals,
dolls, sock monkeys.
She would take us to
thrift stores as children
and help us sew beads and
patches on our clothes
to make them our own.
I used to think
that she was just
encouraging our creativity.
But then, when I got
older, I realized she was
struggling to pay the bills.
Anything she could DIY, she did.
She sounds incredible.
Yeah, she is.
Don't let me fool you.
She's a spitfire.
Ah, we'll take this...
For your mother.
And this as well.
Should make the
gnomes happy for once.
VENDOR: Merci.
Thank you.
She'll love that.
You're welcome.
It's pretty.
[gentle music]
[fire crackling]
Help a guy out, gnomes.
[door opens]
Thanks for meeting me here.
Well, you look festive.
Trying to get these
kids to lay off me.
Not sure how much more
my shins can take.
Well, I like it.
So uh, F and Ma
Fleur decided to meet
here at midnight to exchange
vows before running away.
And then he was
planning on giving
her his gifts, that painting
and the music box, that night.
But that is where
the journal ends.
Well, everything's been
leading here it seems.
I guess so.
No pressure, right?
La Pere Fouettard!
[children laughing]
You OK?
[organ music]
Wow, this is amazing.
Everything in the US was built
like yesterday in comparison.
Sometimes I forget you're seeing
this all for the first time.
No, you remind me constantly.
Well, I'm still green, right?
Maybe not as much as I thought.
I'll admit I doubted you
pretty much at every step
right from the start.
But kind of hard to argue
with your results so...
So you tell me, where
do we go from here?
Well, there has to be
something in this cathedral,
right, something that could
help us break this story?
What does la glace mean?
Just... just do it.
I think we all know
it means ice cream.
Oh, ice, wow.
LEAH: Below the mirror.
[suspenseful music]
MARK: [clears throat]
MAN: Can I help you?
Um, actually, yes.
Yes, I was wondering
if you could
answer some questions for me
about the nativity over there.
Yes, great.
We'll just be a second, honey.
Why don't you light
a candle for me.
- Got it.
- Thank you.
Uh, so I...
I was hoping that you could
tell me who these people are.
- Yes.
- Obviously that's...
Mary and baby Jesus.
Oui, and Joseph [french].
Oh, yeah.
And... oh, uh, and
who is... who is this?
Uh, that's a shepherd, Madam.
And what's...
What's he got there?
That's a sheep, Madam.
Mm, fascinating.
And, uh, what...
What's, uh, this?
This is another sheep.
Mm, mm-hmm.
And, uh, that guy in the
back over there, that's...
That's a wiseman.
Oh, yeah, and...
MAN (VOICEOVER): To my love,
Ma Fleur, never showed up.
Waited for hours.
Broke my heart.
Forever yours, F.
[melancholy music]
[indistinct conversation]
Yeah, and then,
obviously, that is...
- Joseph.
- [clears throat]
Hey, honey, are you...
You ready to hang out?
Uh, thank you so much.
Uh, yeah, very informative.
I've learned...
I've learned a lot.
Um, joyeux noel.
Joyeux noel.
So did you find it?
See, I knew it was
the right way to go.
Leah, I have some bad news.
Bad news, what?
Was it stuck?
Was it empty?
Yeah, it was empty.
Well, OK.
Well, that doesn't necessarily
mean anything though, right?
They would have gotten
rid of it eventually.
And we can just
find something else.
That's all.
Yeah, I'm not sure we're
going to find what we're looking
for in the next few hours.
Yeah, but we haven't exhausted
all of our resources yet.
I mean, we can talk
to some more people.
Somebody's going
to know something.
Maybe... maybe our time
is better spent regrouping.
Uh, well, I'm not going
to give up on their love
that easily, especially not now.
OK, look, I'm gonna go
find something else.
You can come with me or not.
I'm gonna head back to the inn,
see if there's
something I can salvage.
Go team.
[melancholy music]
I appreciate you
letting me stop by.
Well, I had no idea there
was so much in the attic.
Oh, thank you for
letting me look through it.
Mm, my pleasure.
So take your time.
And if you need
me, I'm upstairs.
- OK.
- OK?
Thank you.
SOPHIE: That's a new face.
I don't like it.
Yeah, well, I don't think we're
going to find the happy
ending we've been looking for.
Maybe I can help.
I'll investigate.
Why won't you find
your happy ending?
It says it right here.
Ava stood him up,
broke his heart.
He waited for hours,
but she never showed up.
So he wrote her a letter on
the last page of his journal,
left it for her
to find, pleading
for her to change her mind.
But... she never came.
Hmm, why?
Probably because
she realized it'd
be ridiculous for two
teenagers to run away
together after just a few days.
But... it would have been
a really good story.
Everyone loves a
love story, right?
I think Leah would have
written it really well.
SOPHIE: I see.
I just know how much
she cares about it.
She believed this couple
was together so much she
almost had me believing it.
She must be really
sad they broke up then.
I haven't told her yet.
I haven't had the heart to.
She put so much
faith in the magic
of this town and true love.
I guess I didn't want
to break her heart.
And why?
[light music]
[uplifting music]
[footsteps approaching]
Kind of hard to
write a feel-good story
without a feel-good ending.
How about you?
Will the find anything,
use your magic?
Yes, about that...
The name Philip
makes the F sound.
So maybe they eloped and
then got married later.
This is a British Army uniform.
His last name is Bancroft.
Our painter's French.
Yeah, but maybe they moved to
the UK and he changed his name.
OK, I think it's time to
start being realistic here.
We're talking
about two teenagers
from half a century ago.
Yeah, my parents got
married as teenagers.
And they'd still be
together if he hadn't...
Look, I'm sure we have
a contact in London, OK?
We can find them.
I'll call Samantha.
Leah, it's not him.
They didn't elope.
They didn't end up
together at all.
And I'm sorry.
I really... I shouldn't have
let you take it this far.
Let me?
I found the missing
pages to the journal.
F wrote Ava a letter
and left it for her.
She stood him up.
Where was this?
I found it in the church.
But you said it was empty.
You were so
enthusiastic about it.
I... I didn't want
to mess that up.
I thought maybe...
So you just lied to me?
You know that I'm a
journalist, right?
And more than anything,
I want the truth.
God, it feels like we have
been on a magical scavenger
hunt for the last week.
We are chasing some impossible
dream instead of seeing
what is right in front of us.
OK, what's in front of me is
a jaded reporter who'd rather
be dishonest than helpful.
Look, I knew you were moody, OK?
But I just... I didn't think
you were manipulative.
I'm the senior reporter
here and I should have
reeled this in a long time ago.
So I'm calling it now.
It is time to pack
up and go home.
Great, so you're just quitting?
Better than sitting
around and waiting
for something that is literally
never going to happen.
You want to be a
good reporter, Leah?
Here's a tip.
Expect the worst.
It's always the worst.
[melancholy music]
[playful music]
What are you looking at?
What are you all looking at?
SOPHIE: There's no need to yell.
We're are right here.
Now's not the time, Sophie.
SOPHIE: It's not Sophie.
It's the gnomes.
That's enough, Sophie.
I'm tired of games,
tired of fairy tales.
It's over, gnome.
SOPHIE: It's only over
if you say it over.
If you stop now, you're not even
giving a happy ending a chance.
That is actually pretty
insightful, for a gnome.
It was me the whole time.
Oh, wow.
No way.
As your, uh, girl reporter
here in Petit Marchand,
I noticed something.
You and Leah make a good team.
And you smile more
when you're with her.
You're right.
Leah and me...
Leah and I, we do
make a good team.
And I do smile more
when I'm with her.
You're going to be a pretty
good reporter one day.
I'll tell you what.
When you're older, I
know an editor in Paris.
And I'll set you up
with an internship
if you're interested.
How did you do that?
Do what?
Move the music box
when I wasn't looking.
How did you do that?
I didn't.
[inhales] The gnomes!
They're trying to
tell you something.
Excuse me.
Hi, mom.
I just wanted to show you
the market before I leave.
It's beautiful, sweetie.
Hey, did you find your
mysterious couple?
No, mom, I failed.
I wanted to will myself into
finding something perfect,
you know, find like a beautiful
love like what you and dad had.
And it turns out there's
nothing out there.
Uh, oh, sweetie, I
may have exaggerated
our love story
for you kids just a little bit.
I mean, it made me happy to
tell you stories about him
and, I don't know,
have you seen him
as some larger-than-life
But we had problems just
like any other couple.
MOM (ON PHONE): Really.
And we fought from time to time.
And it took years to
get over certain things.
And after all these
years without him,
it's the great memories
that are strongest.
But it's all still there...
The good and the bad.
And isn't that great?
Because who needs
a fairy tale when
you can have something real?
Hey, everything's shaking.
Where are you going?
To find something real.
[uplifting music]
[gentle music]
Sorry I lied to you.
You are a good reporter.
And we would not have gotten
nearly as far without you.
This job has... has worn
me down over the years.
Working with you has actually
been really refreshing.
I think I got so
used to being Moody
Mark, shutting people
out, that I forgot what
it was like to let them in.
I have been happier this
past week than I have
been in a really long time.
And that's because of you.
So thank you.
I think I'm finally ready
to let go of Moody Mark.
Wow, that was very brave,
yet very embarrassing
of you to admit.
We wouldn't have gotten
anywhere without you.
And I shouldn't have clung
so tightly to some ideal
when it clearly wasn't
helping us anymore.
I just... I spent so long
looking for something
perfect that I was...
Blind to what was real.
So thank you for showing
me how to do the job.
Sorry you won't get
your name in The Post.
Yeah, that's OK.
You know, I don't have to
wait till another journal
falls into my lap to try again.
You know, a very wise gnome told
me once upon a time...
And please, follow
my train of thought here.
It's not over until
you decide it's over.
I think the magic
of Le March de Noel
might be rubbing
off on me after all.
[music box playing]
I had Bernard fix it for you.
[music box playing]
I know who the painter is.
There's a painting that's been
the talk of the city lately.
You know the one.
And our journey
to find the artist
didn't quite go as planned.
But not much in life does.
We eventually did track
down the mysterious F,
also known as Francois Renard.
And his grand plan to elope
with Ma Fleur, Ava Auclair,
the subject of his painting,
ended in heartbreak.
She stood him up that night.
Francois wrote her a letter and
left it in their secret spot.
But she never showed
up to find it.
Heartbroken, he
tossed his journal,
the music box, and the painting
in the snow that night.
How these items found their way
across the world decades later,
I guess we'll never know.
Francois' story may not have
played out like a fairy tale.
But he did get his
happy ending after all.
He met Celine, a sculptor
visiting Le March from Lyon.
Their shared passion for the
art blossomed into a deep love.
And after a few years
together, they married.
Now, with generation
of their families
still living in Petit
Marchand, I guess Le March
worked for him after all.
But that's the thing
about love, it's
not just a fairy
tale or something
you build up in your head.
It can be, but it's the magic
of reality that makes it work.
Sorry you didn't get
your perfect ending.
It's better.
It's real.
[uplifting music]
As for the legend of
Le March de Noel,
the jury is still
out on that one.
Maybe it's just a Christmas
wish, born under the twinkling
lights and the fallen snow.
Or maybe it's the magic of
being surrounded by people you
care about during the holidays.
Either way, I experienced
firsthand what the magic
of the Christmas market brings.
And though life may not turn out
exactly how you expect it to,
that doesn't mean it can't
be unexpectedly perfect.
[uplifting music]
[upbeat music]