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Using real-life inspiration and a vivid imagination, author Charles Dickens brings Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other classic characters to life in "A Christmas Carol," forever changing the holiday season into the celebration known today.
The entire premise of the film seems laughable; a period film based on an author's process of writing 'A Christmas Carol'. But what we end up with is an emotionally engaging drama. No matter how short an amount of screentime the actors get, every character feels genuine and authentic. Perhaps it is helped by the fact that I am less familiar with any of the cast (with the exception of Jonathan Pryce, who I recognise from the HBO tv series 'Game of Thrones'), but I love watching a film, where I legitimately feel like I am watching the characters, and not actors pretending.
I have always had a sense of curiosity around creative people, wondering how they are able to come up with such elaborate stories and histories of fictional characters, so to watch "Charles Dickens" spend so much time and effort determining the name of a character that so perfectly fitted this unknown character that he wanted to portray was eye-opening. The idea of being haunted, bullied, and stalked by these characters throughout the creation of the story was a brilliant piece of work both plot-wise and aesthetically.
The story comes across as a bit of a slow burner, as you acclimate to the period of the film, and readjust yourself to a different way of living; simpler times, with stricter rules, but still has a charm to it. The characters are often aloof and argumentative, but the emotive and mood changing aspect of an artist's personality is a well-documented trait. So while you may disagree with their choices, you can still understand why they did it.
There was a particularly heart-wrenching scene between Charles Dicken's and his father, where words were said, and the full gravity of the potential effects of those words are clear to see. We understand the justification, but we still feel for both characters. The realisation that many of his fictional characters are based on his own personality traits; both negative and positive. Emotionally, the film was exquisite. It really forces you to think unselfishly, to be generous towards others, and it did so in a creative and fun way that had surprisingly few scenes of Dicken's writing.
This is not just a retelling of 'A Christmas Carol', this is a behind the scenes look at its creation. A look at the parts of Dicken's family history that have created such character-defining traits in the well'known author, and provides an idea of the physically and mentally draining effect that the creative process had on everybody involved.
I was unsure what to expect from this film, but I walk away from it with a firm appreciation. Highly recommended.
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