The Man Who Invented Christmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Poster

A Christmas Carol is one of the most famous and beloved pieces of fiction that had ever been written.  Charles Dickens wrote many amazing novels, but this is arguably his finest and greatest work.  The new film The Man Who Invented Christmas explored how a famous author like Charles Dickens creates such a classic work of fiction.

Playing like a biopic, the film adds an element of magic to the manner in which Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) created the characters of A Christmas Carol and eventually wrote the book.

Dickens had gone through a period of failure, having had three books flop after the massive success of Oliver Twist.  Seeing debt building up, Dickens set out to write a Christmas story with six weeks to go until Christmas.  These are true facts.

The film, however, takes the writing process to a different and remarkably original level.  Dickens would picture a characters, name a character and then they would appear to him.  When Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) showed up, he began to show what a rotten person he was, belittling Dickens as he struggled against the deadline, the writer’s blocks and the seemingly never ending interruptions from his family, staff and friends.

Each of these interruptions were involving some intriguing side characters in Charles Dickens’ life.  His father John (Jonathan Pryce) is a bit of a blowhard and huckster, but he is responsible for some serious baggage for Dickens.  The relationship between Dickens and his father is an important one in the creation of the character of Ebenezer Scrooge.

There is also a great relationship between Dickens and his friend Thackeray (Miles Jupp).  Thackeray was as loyal to Charles as anyone and his friendship and belief in the writer was a solid rock for Dickens.

The movie was remarkably charming. I was fully enthralled in the film as it continues, showing the “real-life’ inspirations Dickens took to create the characters and scenes of A Christmas Carol.  It was fun to hear certain well known lines from the story (ex. “if they are going to die then they should get on with it, and decrease the surplus population”) placed into the script in such a clever way.

Dan Stevens does a great job with his role, showing us a continuously nervous Charles Dickens, whose vivid imagination is amazing, but whose life threatens to drag him down and prevent him from finishing.  The flashbacks used help highlight the horrors of the young Charlie Dickens’ past were effective and brought us back around successfully to what the narrative was wanting us to understand.  Much like Scrooge, the key to Charles Dickens successful future lied in the past and the present and Dan Stevens is so likable that he makes a perfect protagonist here.

There were some secondary characters that are introduced that are not developed very much.  Charles’s wife Kate (Morfydd Clark) has a nice scene near the end of the film, but it seemed to come out of nowhere.  The inclusion of a character named Tara (Anna Murphy) seemed an odd choice and I was not sure why she was meant to be significant but she clearly was.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Man Who Invented Christmas (though that was an odd title, somewhat misleading) and I found it extremely charming.  If you are looking for a good Christmas movie this year, don’t waste your time on Daddy’s Home 2 and instead look this one up.  God bless us.  Everyone.

4 stars

 

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