Saturday, December 2, 2017

[Review] The Man Who Invented Christmas

We all know the story of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol quite well with its countless renditions and seminal splendor. But what about the conception of the novel itself? That's what this year's The Man Who Invented Christmas gazes into. The film is a cheerful and tidy portrait of the creation of the classic book -- from life, to brain, to pen, to paper, to presses -- and the rest is history.

Dan Stevens (The Guest, Beauty and the Beast) plays Dickens. He's presented as a likable if quirky and sometimes reserved fellow. As he struggles to come up with an idea for his next novel, the plot follows him through the writer's block and sleepless nights, the skepticism and pushback from his peers ("A Christmas ghost story?!"), and of course the glorious bells of inspiration.

This is a film that you watch with a smile on your face, especially if you're a fan of the timeless source material. It's stuffed with pleasantries, it has a delightfully old-fashioned essence to it, and it features a charming performance from Dan Stevens (I wonder if the actual Charles Dickens was this dashing?). It's also quite fascinating to see how the things that unfold in Dickens' real life parallel and influence characters, settings, situations, and themes in the book -- even some of the spookier stuff. And once the ink really starts flowing, the film takes on a bit of a whimsical quality, as the characters begin to appear right alongside Dickens in his writing room, including Scrooge himself (played by Christopher Plummer).

In the end, The Man Who Invented Christmas won't necessarily deliver any new surprises or bring about life-changing epiphanies, but it's still a nice look at a famous story from a different angle, and it'll probably help you get into the Christmas spirit this season.

( 7.5/10 )

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