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 irresponsibility, 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.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
The character of John Leech (Simon Callow) is portrayed in the film as being older than Charles Dickens. In real life, Dickens (born 1812) was five years older than Leech (born 1817). See more »
In the movie, Tara, the Dickens' children's nanny is seen by Charles Dickens to be carrying a copy of 'Varney the Vampire', which was a popular 'Penny Dreadful' weekly cheap publication popular in the Victorian era. This was suggested as a part of the inspiration behind A Christmas Carol possibly because of the spectral associations and the idea for the visits of the ghosts of Marley and Christmas past and present and yet to come. A Christmas Carol was written and published in 1843, but Varney the Vampire was not actually first published until 1845. See more »
By 1843 Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) was a successful author known around the world, however he was in a funk. His last three books were flops and he was broke and well into debt. Out of ideas he is up against the wire knowing another flop could very well kill his career. When inspiration finally strikes, he is forced to publish the book himself because no publisher wants to do a Christmas book and he has to finish in just six weeks in order to release before Christmas.
When Dickens is writing, he sees his characters in the room with him and talks to them to develop the character. This is best done with his conversations with Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) a character he created as an amalgamation of London's snobby elite who helps he learn about himself as he writes. The story also dives into Dickens early life, especially his relationship with his father (Jonathan Pryce), which helps the viewer understand what drove and inspired Dickens.
This is definitely a movie that assumes familiarity with A Christmas Carol, since it constantly references the story. The title is also a misnomer of sorts, there is no real perspective as to what Christmas was like before A Christmas Carol. And while Dickens did shape a new form of Christmas, it is not the Christmas that is celebrated today. Dickens' Christmas was focused on charitable giving and coming together with loved ones, that Christmas has been lost for a while in favor of a more consumerist Christmas.
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