The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
Dir: Bharat Nalluri | US-Ire-Can | Cast: Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce, Morfydd Clark | Drama | 104′
The Man Who Invented Christmas is a brave attempt to explore the creative process that inspired Charles Dickens’ to pen A Christmas Carol, offering a behind the scenes look at one of England’s best known and most celebrated writers.
Enlivened by a sterling British cast led by a plausible and personable Dan Stevens as Dickens, Jonathan Pryce as his profligate father and Christopher Plummer as the curmudgeonly Scrooge, this is an atmospheric Christmas story that glows with quaint charm but is completely underwhelming as a dramatic narrative, laden down by wooden clichés that reduce the enduring appeal of the writer and his legendary novella.
In 1843 Dickens has suffered a set-back in his writing career and is casting around for creative ideas to finance his growing family and spendthrift father. In his darkest hour, tormented by his pregnant wife (Clark), beset by childhood fears and cherishing hopes for the future, he is visited by the prickly central character of his budding storyline about a mean old man who is disarmed and reborn by the true spirit of Christmas. Scrooge appears to him in supernatural form – as an embodiment of his past trauma – needling and nudging him into writing his novel, while the wolf is howling at the door.
Based on Les Standiford’s book of the same title, director Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day) does his very best to add another another glowing bauble to the cosy Dickensian Christmas cinema tree with this imagined drama that looks as spectacular as a glass decoration but feels just as hollow. Somehow, the more the film tries to portray Charles Dickens’ human fears and doubts and the methods behind his talent, the less authentic the author actually appears.Creative genius is an intangible and mysterious quality, and should remain just that. MT
ON GENERAL RELEASE FROM 1ST DECEMBER 2017