Peter Howell/ Toronto Star
The writing, and rewriting, of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is celebrated from the inside out in new film starring Christopher Plummer as Scrooge.
3 out of 4 stars
Starring Christopher Plummer, Dan Stevens, Jonathan Pryce, Morfydd Clark and Anna Murphy. Directed by Bharat Nalluri. Opens Friday at GTA theatres. 104 minutes. PG
Chances are good that few of us would choose to welcome the festive season in the company of a story called Humbug: A Miser’s Lament, featuring a nasty character called Scratch.
We would, however, break out the eggnog and sugar plums for A Christmas Carol, starring a redeemable villain called Scrooge.
Clever marketing makes the difference between a clunker and a classic, but also a talented author named Charles Dickens. His singular seasonal sensation is celebrated from the inside out in The Man Who Invented Christmas, a surprisingly fresh movie about a story we all know very well.
Directed by Bharat Nalluri, the sturdy helmer of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, it’s set in the Victorian London of 1843 and concerns the writing, late that year, of what we now know as A Christmas Carol.
A demoralized and frantic Dickens has taken on the task whilst wrestling with writer’s block, declining book sales and a looming Yuletide deadline, just six weeks away.
Meanwhile, as his serene wife Catherine (Morfydd Clark) announces she’s pregnant with their fifth child, creditors snap at the heels of Dickens and his ne’er-do-well father John (Jonathan Pryce) for their profligate spending.