By Amanda Pizzolatto (Rated G)
A movie review of The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
“The Man Who Popularized the Modern Christmas”, or something along the lines of “The Man Who Defined Christmas Traditions”, would have been better a better title than The Man Who Invented Christmas. I mean, it’s not a bad title, but there are implications that can be, shall we say, that becomes kinda problematic. But besides that and the fact that this is obviously a fictionalized account of Charles Dickens writing the book of A Christmas Carol, the movie was actually pretty well done.
The movie starts out with showing Dickens dealing with a bit of financial problems, all while giving rather freely to the poor and providing some luxuries for his family. He is also having some problems in literary circles, seeing as how his previous novels were not received as well as he would have hoped, though many do enjoy them. Then he sets out to write a book specifically for the Christmas season, but has limited time to do so as Christmas is not that far away.
As the story progresses, we get to meet the famous characters from the book, along with Dickens, and learn about some of the possible inspiration behind one of the greatest novels ever written. Again, it is very obviously a fictionalized account of how Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, especially as certain lines are pulled straight from the book, but many writers might enjoy it, knowing all too well the frustration of getting a scene just right and fighting the characters to get them to cooperate. This, coupled with Dickens dealing with his own ghosts, makes up the bread and butter of the plot.
Scrooge, played wonderfully by Christopher Plummer, is the first of the cast to appear to Dickens in all his wretched, cold-hearted sinfulness. Once by one, the rest of the cast of A Christmas Carol join in and the plot falls into place. Dickens runs into some writer’s block, the bane of writers everywhere. But he manages to pull through, and the book is published on December 19th, 1843. It was sold out within a matter of days. Dickens found his masterpiece, and what a masterpiece it still is, to this day. The numerous adaptations in movies and theater alone are a testament to its longevity and influence.
That being said, while I did enjoy it, this is a movie best left up to each person to see once and determine if it is something he/she enjoys. I have come to enjoy several movies about the lives of authors, though certainly most are fictionalized for effect, there is a sense of connection with them that not many other biographies quite have. Authors like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, J. M. Barrie, and Hans Christian Anderson seem to be still telling stories, even after they’ve gone. They number among the greats for good reason, as their masterpieces will be remembered for generations to come.