“The Man Who Invented Christmas” stars Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce, and Simon Callow. Released on November 22, 2017, the film is about a struggling writer who attempts to write and self-publish a book that might save his career.
The film is directed by Bharat Nalluri, who also directed films such as Killing Time, The Crow: Salvation, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. It is based on the novel of the same name by Les Standiford. A Christmas Carol became the most successful book in Charles Dickens’ career when it was first published in 1843. However, the journey in making the timeless classic that changed the way we see Christmas is a whole other story. In case you’re curious, I’m very familiar with A Christmas Carol, especially from the many adaptations that appeared in film and television like “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, “The Muppet Christmas Carol”, and the 2009 version with Jim Carrey. When I found out that there’s going to be a movie about the creation of the book, I became curious as to how they’re going to translate this story into film, especially with its PG-rating. I intended to see the film sooner, but I figured that the best way to do it is near the beginning of December, which is a month of Christmas, since the film revolves around the holiday.
The story is based on true events that examine Charles Dickens’ (Stevens) process of creating A Christmas Carol after his last three books failed to make a quick buck. The most interesting part of this story is that Dickens was inspired by the people around him to make some of the most memorable aspects of A Christmas Carol, with the example being the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, who was influenced by Dickens’ real-life father (Pryce). The film also attempts to mix in its charm with the sense of imagination by having the characters from the book interacting with the author himself. Something that people who are also writers can relate to. So how does the story play out for me? Well, it’s not something that will get nominated for tons of awards, but I think it’s a story that’s definitely worth telling. One of the reasons is that the film’s themes were almost similar to the themes in A Christmas Carol, such as redemption and the joy that can be found in kindness, friendship, and generosity. While the film struggled to find the perfect amount of emotional depth during a few scenes, its execution on the charm and the cast was enough to generate a good amount of joy and wonder. Dan Stevens delivered a magnetic performance as Charles Dickens, which is a solid improvement over his portrayal as the Beast in the live-action Beauty and the Beast remake a while back. I like both of his performances for different reasons, but I think his portrayal as Dickens has that kind of spark that has my mind intrigued. Watching Christopher Plummer as Scrooge made me realize that I should look back at his other films because his performance left an immediate impression on my face. There have been plenty of actors that portrayed the miser in the adaptations very well, and Plummer marks a nice addition to that list. Jonathan Pryce was also good as John Dickens, Charles’ father. The costume designs were also brilliant in matching the film’s time period as well as recreating the memorable characters from A Christmas Carol.
Overall, “The Man Who Invented Christmas” is a charming and well-acted tale about the creation of the holiday tradition that we shared today. While it didn’t share the same emotions as the ones in the book, the film nonetheless provided a solid cast and its sense of joy and imagination to bring the writing of a well-known classic to life in its own unique way. This is also the type of film that might get overshadowed in a couple of weeks, so if it’s playing at a theater near you, I would say that it’s worth checking out. God bless us, everyone.