Mormon Moviegoers is a collective of LDS film reviewers helping you to make informed decisions about Hollywood films. It was founded by family counselor Jonathan Decker (of Ask a Mormon Therapist).
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Rejected by publishers following the failure of his last three books, Charles Dickens sets out to write and self-publish a book that will revive his career in time for Christmas. Written and published in only 6 weeks, this movie tells the story of the creation of one of Dicken’s most popular books: A Christmas Carol.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A)
With the countless TV, movie, and play adaptations of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, one has to wonder if there is an original telling of this story left in the world. Luckily for us (and just in time for Christmas) there is at least one innovative telling left; in the form of an origin story.
Unlike many other Christmas movies, this movie doesn’t flood you with heavy handed attempts at pre-determined Christmas cheer. Instead, it prefers to just tell a good story. It’s almost as if it’s just a happy coincidence that the movie is about A Christmas Carol. Wonderfully, The Man Who Invented Christmas is something we haven’t seen in a while: a subtle Christmas movie. What is the true meaning of Christmas? This movie expertly explores this question while delving into Charles Dickens life, and writing process, in a way that captivates the audience from the first to last minute.
Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast) and Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, Up) captivatingly play Charles Dickens and Scrooge, mixing Dicken’s mostly-historically-accurate childhood with the people and experiences he used as inspiration for one of his most famous novels. A truly great ensemble cast rounds out this movie and solidifies it as one of my new favorite holiday films.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Rated PG, this movie delves into and celebrates some of the best things about Christmas such as charity, hope and love. However, some darker themes such as poverty, child slavery and labor, and death are explored and may not be suitable for younger children. The a-word is used on a few occasions, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, Yet to Come, and Jacob Marley do show up, and most of them would be scary to kids. I would say these themes would be suitable for children 10 and older, though more mature children who are a little younger would probably be fine as well.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
No one is useless who helps others. (see “What Have I Done for Someone Today?” by Pres. Thomas S. Monson, and “Unselfish Service” by Elder Dallin H. Oaks)
The main messages of this movie are ones of charity, hope, love, and service. It teaches that the greatest thing about the Christmas season is the love that we all seem to feel for one another, and that we should strive to feel this all year round. (see 1 Corinthians 13:4, Moroni 7:46-48, 1 Peter 4:8, and “Kindness, Charity and Love” by Pres. Thomas S. Monson)
For movie night recommendations and Gospel discussion guides, order 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, available in paperback and Kindle.
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