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The Man Who Invented Christmas

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Dan Stevens doubles as Britain's most famous storyteller in a sprightly origin story for 'A Christmas Carol'.

If you can suspend your disbelief – as ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ wants you to – and roll with the idea that finding inspiration for a novel is akin to an urban adventure, a deeper movie comes into view. Prowling around a somewhat stagey Victorian London, Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens, modern and likeable) struggles with his debts and bad reviews. He also receives iffy table service from a teetering, ghostly waiter called Marley, and overhears a random cheapskate who barks out ‘Humbug!’. Soon enough, Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer, born for the role) appears, the character invading the author’s study like a devil on his shoulder, and ‘A Christmas Carol’ begins to takes shape.

The storyline – will Chuck make his publishing deadline? – is the least interesting aspect. Instead, as directed by TV journeyman Bharat Nalluri, the movie mines the same subtexts as Dickens’s book itself: do we notice those less fortunate? Can we overcome our own egos, daddy issues and weaknesses to find charity in our hearts? As Dickens grapples with his festive morality tale, ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ assays the idea that truly universal art is a response to the world around you. It pushes its hero off his pedestal but delivers him – like Tom Hulce’s Mozart in ‘Amadeus’ – to a much better place, the earthy company of fellow citizens waiting to be inspired.

Joshua Rothkopf
Written by
Joshua Rothkopf

Release Details

  • Rated:PG
  • Release date:Friday 1 December 2017
  • Duration:104 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Bharat Nalluri
  • Screenwriter:Susan Coyne
  • Cast:
    • Dan Stevens
    • Christopher Plummer
    • Jonathan Pryce
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