Date Watched: – 3rd December 2017
Director: – Bharat Nalluri
Genre: – Biography, Comedy, Drama
Starring: – Dan Stevens (Charles Dickens), Christopher Plummer (Ebenezer Scrooge), Jonathan Pryce (John Dickens), Simon Callow (Leech), Miriam Margolyes (Mrs Frisk), Morfydd Clark (Kate Dickens), Ian McNeice (Chapman), Justin Edwards (John Forster) and Anna Murphy (Tara)
The below review contains spoilers
The story behind the story that changed the face of Christmas, when I saw this film advertised I was interested in going to see as being from the south coast Charles Dickens stories are well known and how he uses his own experiences in many of his books and the characters are normally based on people he knew. The film starts as he tours the United States after the success of Oliver Twist before we jump 16 months later to where he is starting to struggle with 3 failed books and finding himself slipping into debt and it’s October when he leaves his publishers who refuse to back him and says he will write a Christmas book in time for Christmas.
As he starts to write his parents visit him, with whom he has a strained relationship with which we find out is due to Charles having to work in a factory at a young age as his father caused the rest of his family to go to a debtor’s prison due to the debts John had accrued. As he struggles to write he overhears the new nanny (Tara) tell stories to his children about spirits visiting families on Christmas Eve and after speaking to her and noticing a comic book in her pocket, Tara explains that she told those stories and taught how to read so Charles uses her for advice and to read his writing during the writing of the book.
After Charles struggles to find a character until he finds Scrooge who he bases on a few people that he encounters during his book tours and charity events and then starts interacting with them in his imagination though sometimes it spills out into his real life. He then uses bits of Tara’s stories about Ghosts and Spirits visiting on Christmas Eve in his book and whilst walking through London, he stubbles across a funeral for a rich man where there is only one mourner which he also uses in his book.
As the deadline approaches for Charles to finish his book he has Tiny Tim to die in the ending but first Tara and then Forster says that he can’t have Tiny Tim to die and when Charles visits the old Blacking factory where he used to work and whilst “talking” with Scrooge he decides that the story should be about redemption and changes the ending so that Scrooge changes and Tiny Tim lives and in his real life as he finishes the book he reconnects with Tara who has returned the book he had lent her and he rehired her (he had fired her during one of his outburst) and Kate tells him his parents are on their way to the station and he gets and cab and reconnects to them and then rushes to the printers to get the final chapter (called Stave) printed so it can be published before Christmas.
This film is really good and gives a good insight behind the story of A Christmas Carol (or to give its full title – A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas), I expect the film also has a lot of artistic license and embellishes a lot of what happen however I expect that the majority of this is true and you actually see two films as you also get the story of A Christmas Carol in this as well (so that’s 4 versions of A Christmas Carol I’ve seen this year). If you’re a Charles Dickens fan then this is a film you need to see. I strongly recommend this film. It’s a good story and I found very insightful.