The town is aglow, the advent calendars are up and we’re officially in December, so it’s nice to have a film that reminds us of how the holiday used to be and how it came to be what we know today. And what it was, was nothing. Until Charles Dickens penned a tale celebrating what Christmas could be, and what it ideally is.The Man Who Invented Christmas starts with a desperate and dispirited Charles Dickens struggling through writer’s block and trying to pay off debts he’s put himself in thanks to excessive spending following the success of Oliver Twist. Taking inspiration from the people and places around him, he begins a new story, but runs in to problems when the cast of his new work take on a life of their own. Dickens can’t control them, and much of the film’s best comedy comes from his interactions with his creations.The central creation is of course, Scrooge, played by Christopher Plummer, who nails the character’s mean spirited misery but fails to really show Scrooge’s epiphany in the film’s finale. This is compensated for though by Dan Stevens playing Charles Dickens, whose character’s desire to escape his past as a workhouse child is reflected through Scrooge thoughout. When Scrooge comes to his epiphany, Dickens himself has his own one and Stevens sells the realization well. Also notable is the film’s script, which includes several odd but beautiful turns of phrase that fit in with the story’s setting.All told, The Man Who Invented Christmas is a strong Christmas film that celebrates the season with humor and a sprinkling of drama that sheds some a little new light on classic characters and the history of the holiday.
By: Brendan Meehan.