The Man Who Invented Christmas


Suprisingly effective Xmas family viewing Discuss this article

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If you can suspend your disbelief – as The Man Who Invented Christmas very much wants you to – and roll with the idea that finding inspiration for a novel is a lot like being on safari, a deeper movie comes into view.

Prowling around a somewhat stagey Victorian London, Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens, modern and likable) grapples 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
“Humbug!” Soon enough, Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer, born to this, and somewhat in demand at the moment) comes into view, the character invading the author’s study like a devil on his shoulder, and A Christmas Carol slowly begins to take shape.

The storyline – will Charles make his publishing deadline? – is the least interesting thing here. Instead, as directed by Indian-born TV journeyman Bharat Nalluri, the movie vaults into a psychological realm that plumbs the same subtext of Dickens’ book itself: Do we notice those less fortunate? Can we overcome our personal egos, daddy issues and the weaknesses of others to stop for a minute and find charity in our own hearts?

In toddling its way to a perfectly decent family film, The Man Who Invented Christmas stumbles upon something more profound: 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 better place, the earthy company of fellow citizens who dream of being inspired. A top seasonal message indeed.

The bottom line
Suprisingly effective Xmas family viewing.

By Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out Doha,

The Man Who Invented Christmas

  • Duration: 104
  • Released: Thu, 14 Dec
  • Language: English
  • Director: Bharat Nalluri
  • Stars: Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce

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