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Published November 27th 2017
Over the years, we have seen many versions of the most famous classic tale of Christmas ever told in our cinemas, on TV, in books and even in stage shows. This year, we are given another version of 'A Christmas Carol', only this time, it's from a different angle! This film is based on the book of the same name by Les Standiford, and is the story on how the famous English author, 'Charles Dickens', came up with his well-known story 'A Christmas Carol'.
If you haven't heard or seen a version of this story once, then you have seen and heard it many times. It was some 30 years after Dickens death that the first of the movies started to come out with the silent film by Robert W. Paul in 1901, called 'Scrooge or Marley's Ghost'. From then on, there have been countless versions, with varying names produced for all the following generations to watch.
You had the classic 'A Christmas Carol', also 'Scrooge', then there was 'The Stingiest Man in Town' and once going by the name of 'The Passions of Carol'. I remember watching as a child the animated version of 'A Christmas Carol' produced back in 1971, and who can't forget the 'Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol' released in 1962! Disney has even done their version with 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' released in 1983. Each of the versions all have the exact story-line of Scrooge and his three ghosts- The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future, with the lesson he learns on the spirit of Christmas and being able to care, love and forgive.
This film is a dramatisation of how Charles Dickens came up with his famous Christmas Eve ghost story and the apparent 're-invention of Christmas'. It takes us back to October 1843, where Dickens, played by Dan Stevens, is extremely desperate to come up with a story idea after having a series of 'flops' and 'writer's block' as they put it.
You are taken on a roller coaster ride with Dickens and his extreme imagination and at times, while watching, I felt out of breath! Having been rejected by his publishers and in desperate need to try and keep his family supported, Dickens is on a mission to achieve the seemingly impossible with 6 weeks to write, illustrate and self-publish a winning book.
Over this 6 weeks, you go along on his emotional journey as his characters come to life, though be it in his imagination. His character of the miserable old man 'Ebenezer Scrooge' (Christopher Plummer), evolves from Dickens meeting the real-life characters, like a waiter named Marley, and a miser he met in a cemetery who only said 'humbug'.
Throughout the film, Dicken's imagination is constantly being interrupted by each of the characters who play a role in the story. You soon realise that the story of 'The Man Who Invented Christmas' is really the same but twisted around version of 'A Christmas Carol'. Each of the characters are in his real life with Dickens himself being Scrooge, with him having to face his own past and present life and the people around him.
During this film you are seeing flashbacks, some disturbing at times for him, of his childhood when he was forced to go work in a factory after his father was imprisoned. Dickens' father (Jonathon Pryce) is a poor man looking for his son's forgiveness of the past and Charles learning how to dig deep within to give it. It's obvious that Dickens will never be able to finish his book in time till unless can come to terms with his own past and present, so he can move on into a happier future.
Then there is his kind hearted, soft spoken wife (Morfydd Clark), pregnant with their 5th child and struggling to deal with him and his vivid imagination, yet tries to keep him grounded and stands by him. You also have his muse, the young Irish nanny (Anna Murphy), who is a source of inspiration through her own childhood tales from her homeland.
Dan Stevens- an English actor, best known for his role in the ITV period drama series of Downton Abbey, plays the very lively and compelling character of 'Charles Dickens'. I loved the energy he put into his role and the million faces that come from him. This is very entertaining to watch, though at times I was also frustrated by his 'hundred mile an hour' mind, that races so fast it has your heart pounding.
Christopher Plummer, who I first saw in the movie 'Sound of Music', was the perfect pick to play the miser 'Ebenezer Scrooge'. He put the right mix of stingy, miserable and annoying with a hint of wisdom in his character. He constantly bothered Dickens on how the story should be written, hinting that maybe it was more about Dickens himself.
I certainly enjoyed this version and would recommend it as a 'go to see' this holiday season and although it's 'PG', I'm not sure if the younger audience would like it as much.
• Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens
• Ely Solan as young Charles Dickens
• Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge
• Jonathon Pryce as John Dickens, (Charles's father)
• Morfydd Clark as Kate Dickens (Charles's wife)
• Anna Murphy as Tara the Irish nanny and the Ghost of Christmas Past
• Simon Callow as John Leech the Illustrator
Director – Bharat Nalluri, British Indian Film and Television Director better known for 'Spooks' and 'Life on Mars'
Screenplay – Susan Coyne, Canadian writer and actress known for works like 'L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables' and 'Slings and Arrows'.
Producers – Vadim Jean, Niv Fichman, Ian Starples, Robert Mickelson and Susan Mullen.
Running Time of 1hr, 44m
Screening starts from 30th November at Luna Palace Cinemas. Check website for details of session times
Join the wonderful people of the Cinema Paradiso on Friday 1st December at 12.30pm for a matinee screening and receive a complimentary glass of Christmas cheer and a mince pie (while stocks last) along with a few other surprises before the show starting at 1pm.
They are also encouraging customers to join in on the spirit of Christmas and embrace the theme of the film and the season of goodwill to all men by donating a Christmas present (not wrapped please) for someone less fortunate, to be handed out by the Salvation Army WA. They are collecting gifts from November 30 to Friday, December 22 at Paradiso and Luna on SX.