It’s been a while. Too long, some of you may be thinking. I really need to do something to make this have a set schedule before I think about apologizing, should I? Well, I know one way to make up for the lack of material: a movie review! And boy, do I have a movie for you. Today, I’m going to review a movie that I’ve wanted to see for a while with The Man Who Invented Christmas.
The Man Who Invented Christmas is a movie about Charles Dickens and the process he went through to write his enduring classic A Christmas Carol. As somebody who tries to write often enough to consider himself something of a writer, I can say that this movie tried to speak to me. Seeing the characters come to Dickens as he struggles to write is something that I think most writers go through. I haven’t been fortunate to see the characters come to me, so maybe that’s something that only happens when you’re in a situation Dickens is in in this movie: on a deadline and having to deal with the fact you’re reeling from flops.
The thing that makes this work the most is Dan Stevens, who plays Charles Dickens. He’s having so much fun in this role and you can see him just beaming like this gigantic ball of kinetic energy in every scene he’s in. While I haven’t heard anything about Charles Dickens in his personal life, I feel that this may be something that’s just for the movie. I guess this may be one of things that falls under “it is what it is”. Also, there are some things that Dickens does in this movie that made me go, “You can’t spell Dickens without ‘dick’.” Another great aspect is Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge. He and Stevens play off each other really well and you get that character/creator relationship coming off well. He’s also got some funny lines as well. One character that struck as entertaining is Tara, one of Dickens’ maids. Keep an eye out for her, because she was really cool.
If there was one thing I had a problem with this movie, it was how they had some of the A Christmas Carol aspects may have been a bit too on the nose for my liking. One scene has Dickens see a kid with a crutch similar to the one Tiny Tim has and you’d probably know where that goes. They also have the line “God bless us, every one” line a few times, and that’s not the only thing that they take from the book. Having only seen small adaptations of it (read: vague memories of reading it in picture books as a kid, and one of them was with Disney characters) so I can say I know the story. It feels like some lines were taken verbatim from the book, but as the movie went on, I felt myself not being bugged by it. I think that has to do with me having seen Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, I can safely say that when it comes to taking direct lines into a work, you can do much worse. Also, the fact that the dialogue fits the time period helps a lot.
Another issue I had was that in some parts, it felt like it was going for the typical second act low point that you see in a lot of movies, and Dickens had to get out of it. However, the way that that’s resolved is actually rather clever, and if you’re a fan of A Christmas Carol, is pretty damn cool.
And now the score. I’m a fan of historical stuff, and a fan of learning how creative things are made, I was excited about this movie when I saw the trailer for it. And I can safely say I wasn’t disappointed. Even the problems that I had made were persistent which is admirable in that it can correct its problems quickly. However, those problems are still there, as small as they may be. Me nitpicking? In the long run, maybe.
I’m going to give The Man Who Invented Christmas a 9.5/10. If you’re a fan of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, that fluffy holiday feeling, or if you’re just looking for a great movie this season, this is a great movie for you. It’s an amazing story of how a classic came to be.