Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Man Who Invented Christmas

(Ireland, Canada, 2017)

Here’s one that sounded a lot better to me than it actually proved to be. Charles Dickens is in debt, and is badly blocked. His “Christmas ghost story” is not going well, and he needs a hit, because the man who is celebrated like a rock star for writing Oliver Twist has had three flops in a row and he needs the money. So he engages in imaginary conversations with Scrooge, played by Christopher Plummer. We see element after element fall into place, and pretty soon I began to find that tedious. Even worse was the arrival of his irresponsible, spendthrift father (Jonathan Pryce), the man who ended up in debtor’s prison leaving young Charles to slave away in a boot-blacking factory at the age of eleven. Somehow having to find it in his heart to forgive the old fuck-up is tied into the overnight salvation of Scrooge in the story, and I just wasn’t happy with that. Maybe I’m a Scrooge myself, but I just don’t think you have to forgive and forget when someone has actually wronged you, and continues to do so. By the end of this I was actually in a bad mood, which shouldn’t have happened in a story about Christmas. Maybe you’ll like it; I didn’t.