Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce, Miriam Margolyes, Simon Callow, Bill Paterson, Cosimo Fusco, Annette Badland, Justin Edwards, Sean Duggan, David McSavage, Patrick Joseph Byrnes, Degnan Geraghty, Mark Schrier, Desmond Bird
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“Cuento de Navidad” constituyó uno de los grandes éxitos de Charles Dickens en 1843; sin embargo, a pesar de su éxito, sus tres últimas obras constituyeron un rotundo fracaso. Todos sus editores acabaron rechazándole, por lo que él mismo se vio obligado a publicar su nueva obra para paliar así las dificultades económicas por las que estaba pasando. Esta historia se centra en cómo se creó la novela con la que Dickens dio auténtico sentido al espiritu de la navidad. El hombre que inventó la Navidad
That makes for a naturally cinematic way of depicting Dickens’ creative process (far more engaging than the standard cliché of a frustrated writer, scribbling away at false starts, only to wad up and discard the inadequate pages as he goes), though much of his time here is spent juggling demands from his family and immediate social circle. There’s his overwhelmed yet ever-smiling wife Catherine (Morfydd Clark), pregnant with their fifth child; his financially irresponsible father John (Jonathan Pryce), whose recklessness holds the key to Charles’ greatest childhood trauma; and newly arrived Irish housemaid Tara (Anna Murphy), a chaste muse whose colorful bedtime stories supply the seemingly crazy idea of writing a Christmas story when the holiday itself is only weeks away.
Director Bharat Nalluri depicts each of these figures — and many more — as if they were characters in one of Dickens’ novels, and soon they will be (Dickens fans may also recognize their imprint on other works still to come, especially as regards the author’s crusade on behalf of children’s rights). But the movie strikes an odd tone en route to Dickens’ career-saving triumph, as the author himself is hyper-animated, a somewhat fatigue-inducing force of nature who pinwheels from one end of London to another outfitted like Willy Wonka (the Gene Wilder version), even as we’re told he’s crippled by writer’s block. These two paradoxical states combine in Mychael Danna’s manic score, which embodies the sporadic march of stop-start inspiration, while contributing to the film’s rather dizzying sensibility overall.
One moment we’re told Dickens never felt more sure of a project, while the next, he’s tearing apart his study in search of that elusive ending. Still, it’s silly to pretend that he might not finish a book that director Nalluri clearly assumes his audience knows by heart — or at least well enough that he needn’t bother to retell “A Christmas Carol” as Dickens discovers the familiar cast of his novella, who are played here (like the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz”) by people in the author’s real-life orbit. Applying the spirit of the finished work to the act of its creation, “The Man Who Invented Christmas” feels perfectly consistent with such literary biopics as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Goodbye Christopher Robin,” which trade on a preexisting familiarity with the oeuvre in question.