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Film & TV

Flashback review: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Isabelle Birch looks back at the 2017 Christmas film, featuring Dan Stevens as Portsmouth's own Charles Dickens

With Christmas well underway in just over two months, and considering that Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, it really isn’t a surprise that I have decided to review this film, despite the fact that it is not a recent release. Any film about Charles Dickens hasn’t exactly been done to death, per se, but rather, shown from a different perspective. It’d be more accurate to say that they are celebrations to the mark that he left on literature and how he inspired countless generations after him.

Here, Dan Stevens (who also played The Beast in the live action Beauty and the Beast) plays Charles Dickens, a man who, at the time of writing A Christmas Carol, had three unsuccessful novels. And yet the story follows on from the success of Oliver Twist, and hints toward David Copperfield towards the end. Motivated originally by writer’s block and his infamous short temper, he uses people and phrases and his imagination and even bits of his own life and writes what is now known as the beloved classic A Christmas Carol.

While the film does often come across as being a bit sickly sweet, it nonetheless is a cute film when you just want to switch your brain off. Dan Stevens carries the film, accurately recreating Dickens’ short temper and occasional writer’s block. It’s hard not to be nostalgic about past A Christmas Carol adaptations and the nods to Dickens’ work that are made throughout the film.

If you are a writer, you cannot help but to relate to the criticisms that the critics made initially to Charles Dickens’ work, and I did not notice any of the inaccuracies until I looked them up afterwards. I like how the flashbacks blended in well with the current chain of events, and how Scrooge was a vision that was eventually incorporated into the story. All in all, a splendid yet somewhat watered down film for all ages that celebrates Dickens’ thought process throughout the writing of A Christmas Carol, and his inspirations for all of the characters, especially the little sickly boy who was an inspiration for Tiny Tim. May God bless us, everyone.

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