MOVIE REVIEW: The Man who Invented Christmas

Comedy Drama retelling a possible recreation of how Charles Dickens wrote the ultimate Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol.  After the success of Oliver Twist Charles Dickens had the world at his feet, but three flops later and his world is less bright, can he pull things back by writing a Christmas ghost story?

I am a sucker for A Christmas Carol, it’s one of my favourite books, and usually you can find me front and centre when a new film based on the book is brought out.  Even last years Collateral Beauty, while a modern retelling and overly complicated, it still struck me as a good film.  The reason A Christmas Carol hits me hard every time I read or watch it is the amount of hope that the words bring.  The feeling that it’s never too late to change and that everyone can see the beauty of the season.  This is in direct conflict with my feeling of how the whole Christmas season is being shoved down our throats, in Ireland the very second that Halloween ends, like 00:00:01 that night, the decorations go up and the songs start.  Bah-Humbug.

Back in Dickens time the gloom of the age and the feeling around was that Christmas was a luxury that was ill needed during the time.  Here he is painted as a social climber, trying to come to terms with his past and his Father, and trying to win back readers and publishers with the new story he has yet to flesh out.  As he wagers against the critics and pays for the book himself he embarks on his own journey to bring himself to terms with his life.

Dan Stevens, Beast from Beauty and the Beast, is Dickens, and manages to give the anguish of the writer who is trying to prove himself to everyone including himself.  This is probably the best performance he’s given since leaving the Downton Abbey thing that I never watched.  Starring alongside him are a host of famous faces including Christopher Plummer as Scrooge, the fictional character who would shape the book has to come alive to help him write it.  Plummer, who is in his late 80’s now, still has that hugely forceful presence that just dominates the screen.  The performance thought that leads me to love this film even more is Jonathan Pryce as John Dickens, the father of the author, who can only be described as a swindler and a dreamer.  Pryce has this jovial and yet damaged performance that is just enchanting.

While being a Christmas movie, which I hate to watch in November, the subject matter means you can watch this during any point of the year.  The journey that Charles goes on, along with the beautifully bleak recreation of London during the 19th Century means that this is the immersive experience that you hope for.  The costuming and set designs are 100% perfect.  The script is witty and the background Dickens references are plain for all to see, especially those of us who are fans, and I couldn’t have been happier.

This Christmas film doesn’t do what most of them try to do and shove the happiness of the season down your throat.  Instead it manages to show us the true meaning of Christmas which is to be kind to one another and show love when you’ve lost more than you are shown.  This one is going to be a Christmas treat for decades to come.  Do yourself a favour and get out with the family to see this magical adventure behind the greatest Christmas Ghost Story ever!

Director: Bharat Nalluri
Writers: Susan Coyne (screenplay), Les Standiford (book)
Stars: Dan StevensChristopher PlummerJonathan Pryce & More…  See full cast & crew

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