Also checked out The Man Who Invented Christmas, a fictionalized account of the writing of A Christmas Carol by that young Charles Dickens fella. It’s funny though, I just saw The Star and I thought a donkey invented Christmas. But no, it was Dickens as the movie sluggishly tells us.
Set after three consecutive failed books in a row, the story follows Dickens as he’s inspired by the people around him to write A Christmas Carol. It’s kind of in the vein of Shakespeare in Love only it drags and plods along tediously. It’s not a total failure… I did like the last twenty minutes or so when the book comes together, he decides to NOT to kill Tiny Tim, and Christmas is saved. Or maybe Dickens’ bank account.
The conceit of the movie is that each of the characters in the book comes to life and talks to Dickens. This is how we get Christopher Plummer as Scrooge in the best performance in the movie. But we also have to go through all the ghosts, one at a time, and an unending “how should I end this book” sequence which is tedious since we, the audience, already know. And the movie isn’t good enough to make that suspense compelling.
The weird thing is, the movie does a terrible job of explaining how this book “invented” Christmas. It has passing references to how Christmas is a passe holiday in the mid 1800s which might be true (I’ve read it was for various political reasons in reviews of this movie). Which begs the question why Dickens has to get the book out in time for a dying holiday. Apparently this movie is based on a book that explains this in much greater detail… and that sounds far more interesting than this movie.
I’d skip this one unless you are fascinated by the idea of it or want to see an unconventional retelling of the book, once removed from the actual story. It has some redeeming moments with Plummer as Scrooge and a reasonably satisfying ending… but I don’t think it’s worth the effort to get there. Score: 65