The Man Who Invented Christmas – worth a watch

A quick heads up before starting. For the first time in ten years Netflix made a mistake and sent me the wrong DVD. Instead of what I ordered, I got Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2016, PG-13. I thought “what the heck,” I’ll take a look. That was the second mistake. I lasted ten minutes and that was it.  If you are a Harry Potter fan you might enjoy it, otherwise forget it.

The Man Who Invented Christmas didn’t really invent Christmas. We all know only one entity was capable of that. However, Charles Dickens did one heck of a job in communicating the “good, bad and the ugly” about the Holiday in his novel The Christmas Carol. It became a best seller in London the day it was published and, so far, fifteen different movies have been made from the book. (My favorite is Scrooged, the 1988 version starring Bill Murray.) What we didn’t know was the “agony and ecstasy” Dickens went through attempting to write this.

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Entertainment Rating: ★★★

Rating: PG

Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Actor, Dan Stevens, Set Decoration and Costume Design

The story takes place in London in 1843. (The book was actually published on Dec. 19, 1843). Dan Stevens does a sensational job portraying Dickens, as he struggles through “writers block,” after his success with the book Oliver Twist. Desperate to write another bestseller, both for his ego and the need for money, he wrestles with one issue after another as he attempts to come up with a story. The inspiration finally comes through a series of small coincidences as he goes about London, culminating in an unexpected visit to a graveyard.

As he struggles with the story, the screenwriters introduce a clever twist, as each character Dicken’s creates, comes to life and further exacerbates his trials. At one point he cries out, “my characters won’t do what I want them to.” Ebenezer Scrooge, played perfectly by Christopher Plummer, makes Dickens’ life particularly difficult. Everything is further complicated as there is a deadline to meet the publishers requirements to get the book into the store before Christmas. How Dickens manages to overcome all of these obstacles is the meat of the story and provides for a decent evening’s entertainment.

In my humble opinion Dan Stevens should receive an Oscar nomination for his performance, but somehow I think the Guild will overlook him.

The set designers did an outstanding job re-creating early 19th century London. The sets, the street scenes and the interiors of the various locations throughout are, to put it mildly, stunning. As the film progresses, if the story and dialogue themselves haven’t grabbed you, the backdrops will.

Complemented by outstanding costuming the entire vision on screen is worthy of several Oscar nominations.

P.S. Has anyone else noticed that the seats at AMC Lake in the Hills are far more comfortable than the ones at Regal Cinema, Crystal Lake?

tsansom2002@gmail.com

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