The Man Who Invented Christmas

After a string of flops, novelist Charles Dickens finds inspiration for his next story in children’s tales and on the streets of Victorian London.

Year: 2017
Certificate: PG
Director: Bharat Nalluri
Starring: Dan StevensChristopher PlummerJonathan PryceDonald SumpterMorfydd ClarkMiriam MargolyesBill PatersonCosimo FuscoAnnette BadlandJustin EdwardsGer RyanSimon Callow

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Basically the film tells the story of how Dickens came to write this classic.

“Marley was dead, to begin with, there is no doubt whatever about that.” In December of 1843, struggling author Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) began his yuletide classic A Christmas Carol with this line. Known for his humour as much as his thought-provoking genius, Dickens spent the next paragraph comparing Marley’s death to that of a door nail, then questioning whether that was an appropriate object and perhaps a coffin nail would have been more accurate. After three failed novels, Dickens struck gold with this timeless tale that has become as synonymous with Christmas as trees, lights, wise men, snowmen and Santa. The much-needed success of A Christmas Carol resurrected Dickens’ career, not unlike the rebirth of Ebeneezer Scrooge after his night of ghostly visitors on Christmas Eve. “The Man Who Invented Christmas” tells the story of Dickens’ inspiration for his holiday masterpiece.

Charles overhears his nanny Tara telling a traditional Irish Christmas tale to the rest of the children. It involves spirits that roam free on Christmas Eve every year. That plants the first little seed of a story. After an event where Charles gave a speech, a rich attendee expressed some criticisms of his latest works. His objection was that the poor, the beggars and the pickpockets don’t deserve a place in a novel, they should be in the workhouses. Charles rebuts that many would rather die. The response was that they had better get on with it and decrease the surplus population. The seed grew in his head.

That evening, he stumbles upon a graveyard where a man is burying his business partner. There are no friends, no family present and the man isn’t upset by the loss. Two men with shovels are waiting nearby to toss in the dirt and Dickens overhears them comment that it’s a shame the business partner had so much money and no one to share it with. As the man walks away from the grave, he spies Dickens looking on. He approaches Charles, stops, and utters just one word: “Humbug.” And the seed took life. The story began to come and the characters came alive in his mind.

When Dickens is writing, he sees his characters in the room with him and talks to them to develop the character. This is best done with his conversations with Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) a character he created as an amalgamation of London’s snobby elite who helps he learn about himself as he writes. The story also dives into Dickens early life, especially his relationship with his father (Jonathan Pryce), which helps the viewer understand what drove and inspired Dickens. The writer’s process imagined in this film is true to life for many writers, though it isn’t the only way from pen to paper.

This is definitely a film that assumes familiarity with A Christmas Carol, since it constantly references the story. That said you don’t need any background to enjoy it. The title is also a misnomer of sorts, there is no real perspective as to what Christmas was like before A Christmas Carol and while Dickens did shape a new form of Christmas, it is not the Christmas that is celebrated today. Dickens’ Christmas was focused on charitable giving and coming together with loved ones, that Christmas has been lost for a while in favour of a more consumerist Christmas.

Basically the film tells the story of how Dickens came to write this classic.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!



About Tammy

A parent blogger and mom to 3 adorable children, who likes watching documentaries and dramas.

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