Another of the upcoming Christmas tales for the festive season is about to release in Australia. THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS is completely different to BETTER WATCH OUT that I reviewed the other day. One is Christmas Horror Comedy and this one is Christmas Period Heartfelt, leaning towards HALLMARK, wonder. This is the one to take your parents or your grandparents to, or take the whole family if they want some educational fun and wonder sprinkled with Christmas. THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS releases Thursday 30th November in Australia from Icon Film Distribution. It is rated PG and runs for 104mins.


The Man Who Invented Christmas Dan Stevens image
Dan Stevens




In 1843, the celebrated British novelist, Charles Dickens, is at a low point in his career with three flops behind him and his family expenses piling up at home. Determined to recover, Dickens decides to write a Christmas story and self-publish it in less than two months. As Dickens labors writing on such short notice, his estranged father and mother come to bunk with him. Still haunted by painful memories of his father ruining his childhood by his financial irresponsibly, Dickens develops a writer’s block which seems to have no solution. As such, Dickens must face his personal demons epitomized through his characters, especially in his imagined conversations with Ebenezer Scrooge. Now with a looming deadline, Dickens struggles for inspiration against his frustrations and his characters’ opinions in a literary challenge creating a classic tale that would define the essential soul of modern Christmas.


The Man Who Invented Christmas Christopher Plummer image
Christopher Plummer



THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS is a retelling (of sorts) of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. It is more so a psychological journey into the head of the literary god, Charles Dickens, and how A CHRISTMAS CAROL came to be. It is told with a sprinkle of fantasy and a lot of heart and it is incredibly clever. The feel of the movie borders on a soft version of old-school Tim Burton but is in fact directed by Bharat Nalluri. Nalluri is known for SPOOKS, LIFE ON MARS, the pilot that got THE 100 made, and EMILY OWENS M.D.. He directs a restrained, nuanced art film that I was honestly not expecting anything from. Instead I left the cinema completely satisfied and all smiles.

It should be an instant classic because of the story, the cast and the beautiful production values but I can’t see commercial success on the horizon. It doesn’t have today’s style of superheroes and therefor won’t get much marketing or box office traction.

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS is lensed beautifully from Ben Smithard who has two in the cinemas at the moment with GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN also shot by him (my actual next review to write). It comes from a story by Susan Coyne (SOUND AND FURY) and Les Standiford who wrote VIRUS back in the 90s. Further kudos must go to Paki Smith (MARY SHELLEY) for a detailed Production Design perfectly partnered with Art Director Neill Treacy (VIKINGS). Every scene and set is superb and I would love to see this tale performed on the stage.


The Man Who Invented Dan Stevens and Christmas Christopher Plummer image
Dan Stevens and Christmas Christopher Plummer



When you have a cast this good there really needs to be some awards handed out. First off is Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens. I can watch him do anything and he pretty much can do anything. Performing in a period film also helps him and the audience because everyone’s heart will have some Downton beats mixed among their own while viewing. And Christopher Plummer is the perfect Ebenezer Scrooge, he doesn’t even need to speak and I am clapping. Jonathan Pryce is swonderful as Dickens’ father and the world can always do with more Miriam Margolyes (Mrs Fisk). Simon Callow gave a good Leech and Donald Sumpter was the perfect Jacob Marley.

Most of the cast are Shakespearean trained and their performances are all mostly effortless harmonies. To see this cast perform this story on stage would be mind blowing. It will never happen but I can dream.


The Man Who Invented The Dickens Family image
The Dickens Christmas Family Photo



THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS is a marvellous period psychological re-telling of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL while watching Charles Dickens go through the process of creating the story of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Let’s go with Inception-styled Dickens shall we? It really is one superbly clever movie you MUST take your parents and/ or grandparents to.





 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.


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