Making Christmas Great Again
Did Charles Dickens invent Christmas? Of course not -- but he definitely wrote a wonderful Christmas story for the ages. The Man Who Invented Christmas mixes fantasy and reality in a holiday film for the entire family. Dan Stevens delivers an amusing -- but a bit over-the-top at times -- portrayal of Dickens, and Christopher Plummer plays Scrooge to the hilt. It’s fun to watch both of these fine actors in roles we’ve seen on screen many times before.
As a Dickens/Stevens/Plummer fan, I enjoyed the creative concept of the movie as well as the entertaining performances. The idea of characters appearing to an author in order to assist with writing the story and even arguing about the ending really appeals to me. That fantastical approach works well here. It gives the film a magical feel.
Like many other fans, I first saw Stevens in Downton Abbey. He soon became one of my favorites in that rather subdued part. Since then, he keeps surprising me with his versatile acting chops. He can do comedy or drama equally well. This year was no exception. I loved him as the Prince/Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast musical. His vocal rendition of “Evermore” (yes, he can sing!) made it to my list of best 2017 movie scenes.
While watching Stevens as Charles Dickens, I couldn’t help smiling at how much he seemed to relish playing the famous British author. Whether angry, frustrated, happy or sad, his Dickens oozes energy and purpose. Likewise, Oscar winner Christopher Plummer (Beginners) won me over as Scrooge. He comes close to being my favorite actor in that role -- almost catching up to Michael Caine’s triumph as Scrooge in A Muppet Christmas Carol.
I don’t want to give away too much about the plot of The Man Who Invented Christmas, but here’s a little poem to tide you over until you see the film yourself.
Writer’s block? It’s not just a joke.
Even Dickens almost went broke.
Frantic, he searched for a great tale
that could result in a huge sale.
When characters cried out to him,
he thought that they were just a whim.
But Scrooge and crew fought to be heard.
They made Dickens note every word.
Dickens listened and wrote his best
Christmas story to pass the test.
“A Christmas Carol” came to be.
And now THIS film is here to see.
Plus, Tiny Tim lives on to say
"God bless us everyone each day."
(Released by Netflix and rated “PG” by MPAA.)
For more information about The Man Who Invented Christmas, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.)