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December 21, 2018

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) --- “Based On The Magical True Story Behind ‘A Christmas Carol’.”

In 1843 London, author Charles Dickens finds himself in financial trouble after writing three unsuccessful novels in a row. Desperate for a hit, Dickens relies on real-life inspiration and his vivid imagination to bring Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other classic characters to life in "A Christmas Carol," forever changing the holiday season into the celebration known today. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Directed by Bharat Nalluri, written by Susan Coyne, and based on the book of the same name by Les Standiford, The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) is a dramatized biopic on how Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol

     Whether you watched the film, read the book or did both, most audiences are at least familiar with the Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol. The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) shows audiences a fictional, almost fairy-tale like approach to how Dickens wrote the story and created its characters.  We see how a variety of mannerisms and sayings from people surrounding Dickens, including himself, come together to create Scrooge and the rest of the characters. We see how he might have imagined the characters and his method of brainstorming, which can be seen when the characters start appearing one by one in physical form to playfully argue about themselves and certain plot points. The film’s story draws interesting and amusing parallels between Dickens' real life and A Christmas Carol. Similar to Scrooge, Dickens is stubborn and has strong opinions about everyone and everything, so much so that he could also be described as a hypocrite. And yet like Scrooge does near the end of A Christmas Carol, Dickens has a change of heart, which allows for him to give A Christmas Carol a beautiful ending, thus creating one of the most timeless and uplifting stories of all time.
     The music score (Mychael Danna), cinematography (Ben Smithard), film editing (Stephen O'Connell and Jamie Pearson), production design (Paki Smith), art direction (Nigel Pollock and Neill Treacy), set decoration (Julie Ochipinti), costume design (Leonie Prendergast) are beautiful and add to the heartwarming nature of the film.
     The cast is solid and give superb performances. Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey; Beauty and the Beast) does an incredible job as Dickens, a manic and driven writer who is under a lot of emotional and financial strain. He brings a nervous tension in almost every scene as he is in and it doesn't help that Dickens is surrounded by a charming group of eccentric people, some who exist in his 19th century reality while others only exist in his fertile imagination. Christopher Plummer (Sound of Music) does a wonderfully job as Scrooge, without twisting his grumpy character into a depressing old man. Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones; Phantom of the Opera) is great as Dickens’ father, who seems to be the source of Dickens’ anger as well as one who probably deserves to be forgiven most. Anna Murphy (At the Water’s Edge) is sweet as Irish housemaid Tara, who presents Dickens with inspiration for several key elements of A Christmas Carol. The rest of the cast did wonderfully in their respected roles.

     Overall, The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) is a dramatic and slightly fictional biopic behind Charles Dickens’ inspiration for A Christmas Carol. The film demonstrates how Dickens’ gets the inspiration for his story and then brainstorms, as well as shows how his life and his book are similar. The music, sets, visuals, and costumes are all stunning and only add to story’s heartwarming nature, while the cast gave solid performances. This is a heartwarming and uplifting film for the whole family to love.

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another."
- Charles Dickens

Final Vote ---  8 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
Arthur Christmas (2011)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
A Christmas Carol (2009)
Elf (2003)
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Jack Frost (1998)
The Nutcracker in 3D (2010)
The Polar Express (2004)
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
The Santa Clause (1994)
The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
Summer in February (2013)

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