The Man Who Invented Christmas: a holiday film review

I have a confession to make.

I’ve never read “A Christmas Carol”. Of course I know the story. I’ve seen at least four different film versions and a stage adaptation or two. But I’ve never read the book.

Nevertheless, when I had an opportunity to attend an advanced screening of the a movie based on the writing of said book, I knew it was a story I wanted to see.

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

Here’s the thing, it starts a little slow. But if you can get through the first 30 minutes, I think you’ll find it an enjoyable film. I didn’t know any of the backstory and found it quite fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind of such a famous author. There was so much I didn’t know.

The trouble with the movie is that I didn’t feel it went to the depths that it should have. I wanted more from it. The movie essentially shares that a large part of A Christmas Carol is pulled directly from Dickon’ personal experiences, but doesn’t dig as deep as it could have. Many of the storylines stay at the surface – his marriage, relationship with his father, etc.

That being said, Christopher Plummer makes the entire movie with his quick-witted Scrooge, and you’ll definately find yourself laughing and smiling in many of his scenes. Dan Stevens (who I loved in Legion) was excellent as the slighly manic Dickons.

The Man Who Invented Christmas is a lovely little film that will be perfect for an afternoon at the movies, but I think it falls a little short of becoming a holiday classic.

Is it appropriate for children

Yes and no. There’s nothing inappropriate for younger children, minus a few potentially mildly scary scenes, but I think most kids under 10 would be quite bored. It’s not a fast paced film at all and would lose most children’s interest in the first few minutes. If you have an older child who is familiar with A Christmas Carol and is a fan, then absolutely, bring them along.

Run time of 104 minutes and is rated PG.

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