Review: A Christmas Carol Retold

by Katie Giffin

As the last of the relatives drive away and with only the remains of the Thanksgiving feast before us, our ears are met by the chiming of Christmas music dancing through the airwaves and the heart-warming ring of the cash registers as everybody and their mother rushes to the stores to partake in the Black Friday sales – all in the spirit of Christmas, of course.

But with the Christmas songs (the same ten we hear every year, except this year they are even more processed and tinny), and the holiday sales (which aren’t really sales but who are we to notice while we’re mindlessly filling our carts), we are also left to the dreaded Christmas films of which we are all too familiar. They crowd the TV channels with the same classic story of redemption – the cold-hearted business woman or man who has no time for Christmas or holiday cheer. Then they meet someone who still believes in the magic of Santa, and slowly, over the course of an hour and a half, they have a change of heart. At the end of the film we will find the happy couple kissing under the mistletoe, surrounded by children (because there are always children) as they all crowd around the tree.

But for some of us, this delightfully simple tale of love and redemption is not enough. The story told over and over again, with slight variations, is tiresome and annoying at best. So what are we to do, those of us who demand more from our holiday entertainment?

For us, we must return to the original tale of redemption. We must return to the story that defined our attitude of Christmas as it is today. This story, of course, is A Christmas Carol. The classic tale of Scrooge haunts us even now, much like the spirits of Christmas haunted the miserly old man we have come to love. And there is no better way to celebrate this than to watch The Man Who Invented Christmas.

The movie hit theaters on November 23, 2017, and it tells the tale of Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens), as

Image result for the man who invented christmas
Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens in The Man Who Invented Christmas

he struggles to write the story that will go on to hold a special place in all of our hearts. Scrooge (Michael Gambon), and the rest of the cast of characters that we find in the novel, haunt Dickens as we begin to see the shadows that inspired this ghostly Christmas tale. As Dickens struggles with debt and the stresses that come with supporting a family, we also see a unique look into the relationship between Dickens and his father, John. This aspect of the story brings a rawness to the movie as Dickens begins to see his own miserliness and tendency towards cruelty. As the credits scroll across the screen, we are left questioning our own relationships with those we claim to love. It invites the same reactions that readers had to A Christmas Carol: a response of self-examination and conviction.

For those who are weary of watching yet another Hallmark film, I invite you to press pause on the everyday Christmas stories and take a trip down to the cinema with a friend to see a film that is as heart-warming as it is mind-opening.

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