2017 | 104 minutes | Rated PG
"Invented" is a rather melodramatic overstatement, but The Man Who Invented Christmas is still an affable, gentle holiday biopic that covers the two months in 1843 in which Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol. As presented in Susan Coyne's mostly accurate screenplay, the kind-hearted but financially struggling Dickens (Dan Stevens) is on a tight deadline, and he's having trouble with the story. He interacts with his imagined characters (including a fine Christopher Plummer as Scrooge) in a manner that’s thankfully less precious than it could have been, though director Bharat Nalluri does delight in showing Dickens stumbling across details that will make their way into the book (e.g., a ghostly waiter named Marley). The charismatic Stevens finds depth in Dickens’ flaws—notably his disdain for his embarrassing father (Jonathan Pryce)—and carries us through the author's own Scrooge-like mini-redemption. It's a warm, hearty yuletide tale, perfect for visiting relatives.
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