Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Story” has already toured the screens of the world in numerous versions. But it is at least as exciting to discover how the British writer came up with the idea for his masterpiece. This year comes along CHARLES DICKENS: THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS exactly this story in the cinemas – as a melancholic Christmas film for adults. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
At the age of 31 in 1843, author Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) has achieved everything. The features section and readers love him for his groundbreaking novel “Oliver Twist”, he is driven around the world and celebrated for his work. Three flops later, Dickens finds himself on the social brink. He’s broke and writer’s block is preventing anything from changing so quickly. One day, when he happens to attend a funeral where no single friend or relative of the deceased is present, he comes up with the idea of writing a book about Christmas as a time for togetherness and coming together. He quickly found a protagonist in the grumpy old man Ebenezer Scrootch (Christopher Plummer). But on the way to becoming a bestseller, he is not only haunted by his increasing money worries and arguments with his father, but also by demons from Charles’ childhood that were long thought to be left behind…
Movie explanation of the ending
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Story” is considered one of the best-selling books ever and is the most adapted of the British author legends. We have seen “A Christmas Carol”, the original name of the world-famous story about a careworn man who is haunted by the three ghosts of Christmas on Christmas Eve, countless times; whether as a timeless classic (“Life is Beautiful”) or as a more modern adaptation, either with the Muppets (“The Muppets Christmas Carol”) or Jim Carrey (“Disney’s A Christmas Carol”). The magic emanating from this story, which caused donations to the poor and needy to rise to immeasurable heights in the year it was written, remains unbroken to this day. What’s no less interesting is how it got this far. Director Bharat Nalluri (best known for the TV series “Spooks” and the associated film) brought in Hollywood bigwigs like Dan Stevens for his mission to take a look behind the Dickensian scenes just two months before Christmas Eve in 1843 (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Christopher Plummer (“All the money in the world”) and brings the life of an extraordinary personality to life with her playing and in front of a picturesque, detailed backdrop.
Christopher Plummer takes on the role of curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrootch.
However, “Charles Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas” is not a biopic. Susan Coyne’s script works for this (“Mozart in the Jungle”) too explicitly based on just one station in Dickens’ life: the writing of “A Christmas Carol”. In addition, Nalluri enriches the retelling part, which also takes into account the Dickens family’s massive financial worries, Charles’ difficult relationship with his father and his sad childhood, with numerous fantasy elements: in “The Man Who Invented Christmas” they appear also all the characters who ultimately find their place in the novel itself. The ghosts of Christmas themselves appear to Charles Dickens – and his life is always reflected, sometimes more, sometimes less clearly, in what he ultimately put down on paper. This is sometimes at the expense of accuracy and anyone who is even a little familiar with Dickens’ biography will notice that in favor of the dramaturgy there has been a little cheating here and there when it comes to the connection to reality (quite as blatant as in the current one, for example). However, the Queen portrait “Bohemian Rhapsody” that is still in theaters is not). But ultimately “The Man Who Invented Christmas” is first and foremost a Christmas story. And especially in this context, a little kitsch and whitewashing is definitely allowed. Especially since the film never puts characters in a better light than acceptable.
The main character himself also gets his rough edges here. This Charles Dickens could be quite an egomaniac during his working phases, which the film doesn’t ignore, nor does he ignore his naivety towards his father, which only becomes apparent much too late. The actors all play their roles so confidently that they sometimes help them overcome one or two implausible bumps (such as the very forced-seeming reconciliation between Charles and his dad at the end of the film). Likewise, individual scene transitions don’t always seem completely clean, so that you keep asking yourself how a character got from A to B so quickly, since you didn’t get the impression that the necessary amount of time had passed on their way. The setting turns out to be rather limited and sometimes even seems almost theatrical. But that’s exactly what gives the film its charm – it’s a classic Christmas fairy tale, which is clearly aimed at an adult audience due to its narrative seriousness.
The loving set design gives “Charles Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas” a Christmas fairytale charm.
Conclusion: “Charles Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas” is a loving and serious insight into an exciting phase of Charles Dickens’ life and work, which, thanks to its technical presentation, achieves a similar charm to the work that was created here in the first place.
“Charles Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from November 22nd.