The Man Who Invented Christmas, B
Rated PG, 104 minutes
Bah Humbug. If are a Scrooge and not really into the holidays, then you may want to take time to see the charming, well-acted new dramedy "The Man Who Invented Christmas," which a behind-the-scenes story of the writing of the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol," which originated the terms of "Bah Humbug" and "Scrooge." The story is a familiar yet touching portrait of the inspiration behind one of our most beloved Christmas stories.
In October 1843, Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) was suffering from the failure of his last three books. Rejected by his publishers, he set out to write and self-publish a book he hoped would keep his family afloat and revive his career. The film tells the story of the six fever-pitched weeks in which Dickens created A Christmas Carol. The film takes audiences inside the magical process that brought to life Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and others, changing the holiday into the merry family event we know today as Christmas.
"The Man Who Invented Christmas" is an appealing and often humorous period piece that's directed by Bharat Nalluri (of TV's "The 100") and written by Canadian writer Susan Coyne ("Mozart in the Jungle"), based on Les Standiford's non-fiction novel of the same name. The film put a nice, often sweet spin on the classic Dickens tale; some of it can be occasionally unfocused, but there are some compelling moments along the way.
Stevens (the Beast from Disney's live action "Beauty and the Beast") portrays Dickens as a talented but somewhat distracted artist who had trouble managing his personal affairs, though the most memorable and most inspired casting is that of Oscar-winner Plummer as the inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge. Plummer's Scrooge comes to life and helps advance the story - both Dickens' and the film's - breathing some fresh life into the script when it becomes hampered by too many other unnecessary subplots, particularly when Charles' opportunistic father John (the terrific Jonathan Pryce) arrives on the scene.
The detailed costumes and sets, as well as the handsome photography by Ben Smithard and nice score by Oscar-winner Mycheal Danna ("The Life of Pi") add some nice subtext to the film, giving you a strong sense of what it was like in 1840's London. The film is best when Dickens story comes to life off the page, and we get an idea of how Dickens' inspirations made it to the written page, and it doesn't hesitate to add some humor to the story too, most of which works here.
Whether you're a fan of Dickens story or not, "The Man Who Invented Christmas" is a worthy look at a Christmas story that has been around for generations. Don't be a Scrooge, and take time to see it today.