Director: Bharat Nalluri
Writer: Susan Coyne
Starring: Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce
Release Date: 1st December
Bharat Nalluri’s The Man Who Invented Christmas is an interesting take on writer Charles Dickens’ most famous book, A Christmas Carol. The period in Dickens’ life leading up to this novel included financial, reputational, and personal crises. The film explores the creative process Dickens embarked on to write this much-acclaimed book.
Dan Stevens’ performance as Dickens is commendable. His portrayal of the frustration of a writer’s inability to reach a conclusive end to a book and of parenthood stand out. The actor manages to depict Dickens’ angst with just his eyes. Christopher Plummer plays the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge to perfection, and Jonathan Pryce does justice to his role as Dickens’ financially irresponsible father.
Some of the scenes were shot in Dublin city so be on the look-out for familiar streets.
Writer Susan Coyne was inspired by historian Les Standiford’s book of the same title to write this screenplay. The writer seizes the opportunity to reveal some interesting details about Dickens’ life by retelling the tale of how A Christmas Carol came into existence. The characters in the Christmas novel are all results of visions/hauntings Dickens has of them. Each character is carefully developed and holds significance in the film.
Coyne’s writing is well done, but Nalluri’s direction falters big time. The director seems to simply lift Coyne’s screenplay and make it into a film without adapting it or adding his own creative touch.
The film is shot well and it looks beautiful throughout. The magic of the era is captured through the surroundings and the costumes. Some of the scenes were shot in Dublin city so be on the look-out for familiar streets.
The film does reveal some interesting details about the author’s life but along the way, there are a lot of filler moments.
Overall, this 104-minute-long fantasy drama starts off on a good note, but as soon as you begin to get hooked, the movie loses its grip. The ending redeems the film slightly, the finale engages the audience well and the film finishes strong. The movie does reveal some interesting details about the author’s life but along the way there are a lot of filler moments. This is surprising as Dickens’ story is so interesting. Had there been a clearer story depiction by the director, The Man Who Invented Christmas could have truly done the author justice.
In a nutshell: This film is an enjoyable festive watch but could have benefited from clearer direction or perhaps a shorter runtime.