Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

It is the Christmas season. And every year I find myself talking about the same movies.

New movies come about and one wonders if they are to be new classics.

I know a lot of people like to watch Elf but I have never warmed to that movie. There are others that are meant for older teens and adults but not for children. I love Bad Santa, Love Actually, and The Holiday but their content is adult focused. It’s hard to display these as family friendly movies when the are definitely not for the kids.

Other movies or shows are meant for kids, a whole variety of cartoon characters have special christmas episodes. Maybe it is Thomas the Tank Engine or Angelina Ballerina or Dora. These are really meant for kids and only kids.

Man who invented ChristmasOne of the newer movies made for Christmas that intrigues me is called The Man Who Invented Christmas. The movie is about the time period in which Charles Dickens was writing A Christmas Carol. Some might say that this is Dickens’ masterpiece. The movie takes place in the 1840s as Dickens is going through a tough time financially as his last three novels were flops.

His latest serial is not doing well and Dickens needs a better cash flow. That is when the idea of his classic tale comes to life in his head. But writing it all down, creating the story is hard work. Dickens is blocked in his attempt to write and illustrate the story during a frustrating six-week period.

As he is writing, characters come alive and state how they want to be treated in the story. Scrooge ridicules the writer while demanding his story be told through his own written narrative. Soon, other members of the cast show up and help him figure out the rest of the story.

Dan Stephens plays the author with gusto and creativity. He is joined by Christopher Plummer as Scrooge in a performance that defines the character. This movie has received a variety of awards from family movies groups. It is wonderful and weird watching the writer in his process.

the-man-who-invented-christmas windowMost of the time I would tell you watching a writer create is not exciting. We sit at a writing table or a keyboard and work to create by typing and checking our research. Dickens apparently used to walk through London, even the dodgy areas, while in the middle of creating his various stories.

But by making these characters come to life, some who are also played by members of the household, the director, Bharat Nalluri, adds dimension to the process.

We know that A Christmas Carol is a classic story that our society enjoys every year. Dickens’ story changed the way England and America celebrated Christmas. It brought back hope and goodness that we now associate with the season.

In seeing how this story was created, we develop better understanding of this wonderful traditional Christmas tale. And that can make the story all that more special.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.