‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ Revealed (Movie Review)

It’s a credit to Dan Stevens that he keeps finding different sorts of roles to play. Not having watched Downton Abbey, I only started becoming familiar with him when The Guest came out. Now he’s tackled a number of roles, and I continue to enjoy seeing the output. For The Man Who Invented Christmas, Stevens stars as Charles Dickens, and the film tells the story of how “A Christmas Carol” came to be a timeless tale that would go on to redefine how the holiday was celebrated.



That last part was actually what I found the most interesting in this light-hearted biopic but unfortunately didn’t get too much of that aspect. With so much emphasis in modern times on what defines Christmas and the aspects of “tradition” concerning this holiday that seem so rampant, I was entertained by a world that had not yet been thrust into the same holiday frenzy. However, the film does get by on the story it is telling.

We see Dickens as a man who balances being kind to his family and friends with being a writer struggling to write. Following “Oliver Twist,” Dickens had multiple flops in a row and needed to get back on track. For this film, we see how his writing process works, as Christopher Plummer shows up as a literal manifestation of the Scrooge character he is writing. These are fun scenes, and whether or not Dickens was truly plagued with certain amounts of drama in his life, it was interesting to see how the film chose to make him and Scrooge nearly one in the same.

A lot of drama stems from Jonathan Pryce’s role as John Dickens, Charles’ father, which sets the film up for various scenes challenging the dynamic between father and son, before ultimately rectifying the situation for the better. It’s the sort of material that follows a familiar structure, but given how briskly the film moves along, it’s never too much of a distraction. Plus, Pryce is always a plus.

Some other interesting additions are made, as we see Dickens struggling with his financial situation. It comes from wanting to be a better man than his father, so he makes many extravagant purchases, but it comes back down on him in a rough way to build the film’s drama. That said, we do get some nice supporting work from Morfydd Clark as Charles’ wife Kate Dickens and others who do what they can to help Charles work out his plans to make this latest novel in time for Christmas.

While The Man Who Invented Christmas could have easily made for a television production, enough credit goes to the actors for making the best of this material. It’s a lightweight story, but enjoyable enough to do the job of telling the story of “A Christmas Carol” from a new perspective.


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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