The Man Who Invented Christmas Parent Guide
This well-crafted movie does a charming job of illustrating Dickens' motivation in writing his classic Christmas tale.
Parent Movie Review
Dickens was broke: to begin with.
After having his book, Oliver Twist, reach the heights of best seller, Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) did what most of us would. He bought a nice house, filled it with expensive items and spoiled his wife Kate (Morfydd Clark) and their children. What he didn’t plan on was his next three sequential novels being flops. Now the bills are mounting, winter is approaching and he is begging for an advance from his publisher – gambling on the belief that he will be able to produce one more hit.
When Mrs. Dickens quietly informs the author that he has another child on the way, it’s just one more deficit on the books. Then his derelict father and mother (Jonathan Pryce and Ger Ryan) show up on the front doorstep and Kate offers them a place to stay. In desperation, the scribe sequesters himself into his home office inhabited only by his presence and the demons in his mind. Thank the heavens for John Forster (Justin Edwards), a patient friend and volunteer agent who is determined to see Charles through his writer’s block.
As Dickens and Mr. Foster meet with a publisher, printer and make stops at a gentleman’s club, the pair are exposed to a variety of personalities. Often, during their casual conversation, Dickens pulls out a tiny journal and jots down quotes or makes dutifully notes—like a cook gathering ingredients for the perfect stew. Viewers will recognize many of the remarks made by these random citizens, because they are the very words that fill the pages of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.
Yet, before his most famous novel will forever change the frosted hearts of Londoners (and the world), he must first work through a haunting of his own: an abandoned childhood that has left him sweetly savoring his accomplishments and bitterly blaming his father for his inability to create another book.
Like many writers, Dickens’ characters live within his head. Thanks to the imagination of Les Stanford, who authored the story upon which this movie is based, and director Bharat Nalluri who brings the script brilliantly to the screen, these mental creations come to life. Soon they begin to populate the corners of Dickens’ writing room, and even follow him about town. Chief of these nascent beings is Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), who aptly applies generous doses of dispiriting discord. In a pivotal scene, Plummer becomes the ultimate shoulder devil, whispering into the ear of his crushed creator that his character epitomizes the fears of starvation and failure within Dickens’ mind – and illuminates unhappy memories that the author had hoped to leave obscured in the past.
At the risk of leaving readers thinking this production is too dark for younger audiences, there is, of course, a bright ending. Yet even for those familiar with his classic novel, this well-crafted movie’s best work is to illustrate the surrounding situation that motivated Dickens to author it. And that charming and thoughtful picture will provide a variety of points for parents to discuss with teens and older children.
There is little content in this movie to concern family audiences, although scenes of verbal sparring, bullying and Dickens’ “creative” temper may be too emotionally charged for little children. There are also a couple of moments of drunkenness that involve using alcohol to avoid stress. Still, The Man Who Invented Christmas provides viewers with the opportunity to consider their potential to change themselves and the world for the better. It’s a strong testament to the power of creative works (the publication of this story altered people’s views on charitable giving) and a reminder that a one’s most difficult experiences can often become our greatest gifts to those around us.Directed by Bharat Nalluri. Starring Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce, Ian McNeice. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release November 22, 2017. Updated November 28, 2017
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Man Who Invented Christmas rated PG? The Man Who Invented Christmas is rated PG by the MPAA for thematic elements and some mild language
Violence: Frequent scenes depict characters arguing, including a husband and wife to spat over money and family situations, and an employer who angrily dismisses a young servant. Some scenes may be frightening to young children, including a character who is about to be buried alive and a statue to comes to life as a ghost. A young boy is physically bullied (punches are thrown) by other boys, all of whom are orphans forced to labor in a work house. One of the boys places a dead rat in front of another boy. Characters incurs unwise debt. A character takes unfair advantage of another.
Sexual Content: A married couple share occasional affection and she informs him that she is going to have another child.
Profanity: A few uses of the word “bloody” (in a British cultural context), three other mild curses and slurs are heard.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Two characters become inebriated: it is implied their drinking was motivated by a desire to forget problems. Other social drinking is depicted. A character takes a couple cigars, but we don’t see them smoked.
Page last updated November 28, 2017
More parents' guide for The Man Who Invented Christmas after the break...
The Man Who Invented Christmas Parents' Guide
What role does Charles' friend John Foster play in his life? Based on the depiction in this movie, would it be an exaggeration to say that without John, Charles' life may have turned out very differently? What are the chances of A Christmas Carol being authored? How important are friendships? Do we always know when we have effected someone in the way John did with Charles? Click the link to learn more about John Foster.
A character in this movie says poor people don't belong in books. What types of people are rarely seen in our popular culture today? Why do you think this is the case? What other types of people are frequently seen?
Haven't read A Christmas Carol? The book is now in the public domain and is easy to find on the Internet. Here's one source for A Christmas Carol.
News About "The Man Who Invented Christmas"
The Man Who Invented Christmas is a Canadian and Irish production. It is based on a book, The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Stanford.
The movie's script depicts the novelist, Charles Dickens who penned the classic yuletide tale, A Christmas Carol. In a humorous manner, the author's imagination brings to life the characters he is trying to create in his story.
Dan Stevens, who plays Dickens, can also be seen in the live action Beauty and the Beast and in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. The role of Ebenezer Scrooge is filled by Canadian-born actor, Christopher Plummer, who is best-known for his part as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
From the Studio:
The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.
By Bleeker Street