Review of 'The Man Who Invented Christmas'

the_man_who_invented_christmas.jpg Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) is facing every more serious financial difficulties following a string of successful books including Oliver Twist. He realizes he will need to come up with a new, successful book which he decides will be a “Christmas” novel. We see him struggle to come up with a concept but eventually based on people he meets in his life he settles on the story of Ebenezer Scrooge (a perfectly cast Christopher Plummer) and the apparitions that visit him on Christmas Eve. The characters spring to life for Dickens and guide him in the writing of his famous “A Christmas Carol” but will he complete it in time for Christmas and, more importantly, will it be a hit?

An amazing piece of film-making that manages to successfully merge the mundane with the utterly fantastic as the famous author talks with his characters in developing the story of “A Christmas Carol”. Dan Stevens as the young Dickens is full of life yet struggling to come to terms with practical matters, and a troubled relationship with his father (another compassionate performance from Jonathan Pryce) who early in Charles' life threw him into child labour due to family financial difficulties. Stevens really manages to bring the author to life as he struggles to cope, relentlessly hounded by reality crashing around him.

The effects are low-key yet very effective, never getting in the way of the narrative. 1840s London is brought vividly to life with little gloss - The dirt, the grime and the class dynamics laid bare. This is a world that now captivates and pulls us in.

As far as being a Christmas film “The Man Who Invented Christmas”, hum, I am not sure: While it is set during the holiday periods and has an up-beat aspect to it, this is not traditional Christmas fayre though I can see most would be interested in watching it at that time of year due to it's telling of a seasonal story many might not be familiar with. “It's a Wonderful Life”, this ain't.

A frenetic yet warm film that tells us the story how “A Christmas Carol” was written – A beloved story that many credit with establishing modern Christmas traditions.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2020-12-29

Directed by: Bharat Nalluri

Studio: Mazur / Kaplan Company

Year: 2017

Length: 104 minutes

Genre: Melodrama