Title: The Man Who Invented Christmas
Director: Bharat Nalluri
Cast: Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce, Simon Callow, Donald Sumpter, Miriam Margolyes, Morfydd Clark, Justin Edwards, Ian McNeice, Bill Paterson, Anna Murphy, Eddie Jackson, Neil Slevin, Paul Kealyn, Aleah Lennon, Ger Ryan, Ely Solan.
Charles Dickens is synonymous with Yuletide, as attested by his ‘A Christmas Carol’ that conquered readers worldwide when it was published in 1843 and still continues to be a classic of the season.
The story of the way the novella came to life is incredibly fascinating, since the British author took only six weeks to write it and it was conceived after three unsuccessful publications (Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, Barnaby Rudge).
‘The Man Who Invented Christmas,’ directed by Bharat Nalluri, begins in October of 1843, exactly when Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) was suffering from the failure of his last three books. Rejected by his publishers, he set out to write and self-publish a book he hoped would keep his family afloat and revive his career. The film not only tells the story of the fever-pitched period in which Dickens created ‘A Christmas Carol,’ we also take a glimpse at the author’s childhood, when he left school to work in a factory, because his father was incarcerated in a debtors’ prison. It is clear how ‘Oliver Twist’ was incredibly autobiographical.
‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ takes audiences inside the magical process that brought to life Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and others, changing the holiday into the merry family event we know today as Christmas. The film is poignant in capturing the zeitgeist of the mid-Victorian revival of the holiday, but the acting at times seems caricaturist and too many angles and genres coalesce making the motion picture a chaotic mishmash of dramedy, fairytale and social critique.
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the allure of “A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas,” prevails as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come transform Scrooge into a kinder, gentler man and most importantly generous of spirit.
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi