|Index||5 reviews in total|
The premise of an African-American female Scrooge in the modern, struggling city was inspired, but nothing else in this film is. Here, Ms. Scrooge is a miserly banker who takes advantage of the employees and customers in the largely poor and black neighborhood it inhabits. There is no doubt about the good intentions of the people involved. Part of the problem is that story's roots don't translate well into the urban setting of this film, and the script fails to make the update work. Also, the constant message about sharing and giving is repeated so endlessly, the audience becomes tired of it well before the movie reaches its familiar end. This is a message film that doesn't know when to quit. In the title role, the talented Cicely Tyson gives an overly uptight performance, and at times lines are difficult to understand. The Charles Dickens novel has been adapted so many times, it's a struggle to adapt it in a way that makes it fresh and relevant, in spite of its very relevant message.
_Ms._Scrooge_ is a remake of Charles Dickens' _A_Christmas_Carol_. If
you are tired of Scrooge as a crotchety old English guy, you can now see the
same story modernized with an elderly black woman playing Scrooge. The
adaption is well done, and the contrast with the original story is part of
Cicely Tyson plays Scrooge. I first noticed her years ago in the movie _Autobiograpy_of_Miss_Jane_Pittman_. That award-winning movie and _Ms._Scrooge_ together make an interesting set. In both, Cicely is shown at different times of her life to develop a personal history of how she became who she is now. While the _Autobiography_ is a better movie, _Ms._Scrooge_ is still very good.
The supporting cast does an excellent job. Perhaps Katherine Helmund goes over the top as Maude Marley, and she appears to be enjoying her state more than one would think a lost soul should. Still, she effectively sets the stage for what Scrooge is yet to experience. Julian Richings is totally eery as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Roles where actors don't speak have got to be hard to play, but Julian finds the way.
It amazes me how many ways a simple story like Dicken's "A Christmas
Carol" can be interpreted. We have the pleasure of watching Cicely
Tyson (Idlewild, A Lesson Before Dying) in another strong role.
John Korty, who directed Ms. Tyson in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, again directs her as Ms. Ebenita Scrooge. Veteran writer John McGreevey interprets the familiar tale.
Katherine Helmond ("Soap", "Whose the Boss") was funny as Marley, and Michael Beach ("Third Watch", Short Cuts) was super as her nephew.
It was a different twist on a familiar story, told from an African-American perspective, and it really warmed the heart.
Of course, you all know how it ends.
Too many tragedies and disappointments made Ms. Scrooge start to build
walls. She wasn't born that way. In fact, at the start of the show, she
was very open and giving. As the spirits review her life, you share both
the joys and sadness that have come her way--and feel sad at the way
will turn out if she doesn't change. The final scene will be sure to get
you even if nothing else gets to you first--and I can assure you that
you'll, more likely than not, be "gotten to" and will be reaching for the
tissues long before then!
...but this has to be the worst A Christmas Carol adaptation of all
time. And that takes some doing, what with the likes of various
Lifetime efforts. Don't get me wrong--I have nothing against Cicely
Tyson. I've enjoyed her tremendously in other roles (look at Sipsey in
Fried Green Tomatoes, for example). But the script gives her no option
but to chew the scenery. And chew it she does, with all the enthusiasm
of Tiny Tim tying into a Christmas goose.
Give me the classics anytime: Alastair Sim, 1951. With the exception maybe of Scrooged, all the others are just over-the-top efforts to grasp the past, present, or future Spirit of Christmas.
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