I never truly appreciated how groundbreaking Charles Dickens iconic ghost tale, A Christmas Carol, was to the world, especially during a time in the 1800s where Christmas wasn’t celebrated nearly how it is today. Not only was the man a genius writer, he was also a former child factory worker, putting in 12+ hour days at the age of 10. Dickens clearly had a special connection with the homeless, which is apparent in the majority of his work.
The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the journey Dickens (Dan Stevens) went on while writing the now timeless and iconic classic, with a bit of Christmas magic sprinkled throughout the story to give the film itself a more traditional feel. It’s not an easy feat to capture storytelling of the past and making it appeal to modern audiences, but director Bharat Nalluri manages to accomplish this task, while never feeling like it’s a carbon copy of something we’ve all seen before.
Throughout the film, Charles sees various characters from A Christmas Carol, from Tiny Tim to the Indefinitely unhappy Ebenezer Scrooge (a brilliant Christopher Plummer). Dickens is facing a terrible case of writers block, as well as recovering from following up his smash hit, Oliver Twist, with three flops in a row.
The Man Who Invented Christmas is a harmless, sometimes adorable family film, that is sure to please fans of A Christmas Carol. Sure, this won’t be a film that will go down as a classic in its own regard, but nonetheless an easy watch that’ll make you feel the spirit of Christmas, even if you are a Scrooge.
Ive been an avid fan of Dan Stevens since his star-making turn in the indie gem, The Guest. it’s great to see Stevens in a leading role again, especially judging by how easily he carries the entire film. He brings a certain amount of charm and wit to the role of Charles Dickens, making him an easy protagonist to sympathize with. I admire how the screenplay lets Dickens have human flaws, and not being a picture perfect representation of the master author.
While it’s almost a cliche to say that Christopher Plummer is wonderful in a role, I can’t help but notice how wasted he is as Scrooge. Yes, he’s the same wise cracking, miserable old man that we all know and love, but nothing else of substance is present. He shows up when the story calls for him, says his lines and just kind of disappears. I understand this from a narrative perspective, and it works for the type of story being told, but having an actor the caliber of Plummer in such an iconic role, should’ve been more well utilized.
There isn’t much to say about The Man Who Invented Christmas, and that isn’t necessary a bad thing. Though the story does take some liberties with the story, and that’s understandable considering it takes place in the late 1800s, it’s still great to see the man behind the words we’ve all grown up with.