Rated: PG or thematic elements and some mild language. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: November 22, 2017 Released by: Bleecker Street
If you can remember having an invisible friend as a kid, it will be easy to understand the imaginary relationship brought to the screen by Director Bhart Nalluri who directed the imaginative Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day.
There is adept handling of the two stories in The Man Who Invented Christmas, one the life Charles Dickens during the writing of the book Christmas Carol and the other his imaginary discussions with the character of Scrooge as the main character in his most successful book.
Dickens appears at the beginning of the story as a successful writer living relatively comfortable life in a new home which his wife is in the process of redecorating. He is also hitting a low period, the last three publications were not very popular. Dickens has reached a period of writer's block and he floats a number of financial options based on the future success of his next book.
The script brings in many of the key phrases in Christmas Carol as he deals with folks around town during his daily interactions. Early on he learns a man who has died is named Marley, one character spouts the words "are there no work houses," and the key phrase, "reduce the surplus population" pops us. The publishers tell Dickens that Christmas is a dying holiday no one cares any more. He also visits a grave yard during his activities around the city.
What is most joyful is the interaction between the character of Scrooge played very nicely by Christopher Plummer. His transformation in the conversations parallels the change in Scrooge in the book. Dickens interaction with his wife and children is also fun to watch, even when he insists he be allowed to be private in his study to allow him to write and not have kids and others in his way.
The timing of moving cash from one place to place and the need to reach deadlines to finish the manuscript on time to allow the publisher to finish the printing on time adds a little tension. No one knew if the story would be popular. Today we know it remains one of the most enjoyed Christmas stories in history. The idea that Christmas as we know would not have happened without Tiny Tim and the other characters may be excessive but the tale of the film works quite well.
The joy of his success when the book sells out quickly gives us a great start on the upcoming holiday season. The joy of Christmas is reflected in the book and the beauty of the conception of the story.
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