The Man Who Invented Christmas is a drama film directed by Bharat Nalluri. Released in theaters by Bleeker Street on November 22, 2017, it won the 2017 Heartland Film Truly Moving Picture Award.


The film opens in early 1842, with Charles Dickens on a tour of the United States, fresh off the success of Oliver Twist and writing mixed notes about his devotees in America. Flashing forward a year and a half later to October 1843, Dickens has had three unsuccessful books and faces mounting debts, including the spendthrift ways of his father, who cannot seem to stay put in the house in Devon that Charles bought for his parents. Increasingly desperate, he ends up drawing some inspiration both from snobbish skinflints he encounters and a new Irish maid in his household, who regales the children with ghost and spirit stories.

In Dickens' mind, characters emerge and become real to him, until finally he is able to manifest the bare-boned character of Ebenezer Scrooge and begins to build upon him. However, constant real life interruptions, especially those provided by his father, begin to awaken grim feelings in Dickens, reminding him how his family was broken in childhood when his father was taken to a debtors' prison as a result of living beyond his means. With the frame of his story begun, Dickens has a hard frustrating time selling it to his publishers, who doubt the timeframe of a Christmas story being able to be produced so close to the holiday itself. Dickens decides to publish the story himself, despite the advice of his friend Foster. Dickens begins to have writer's block when he first envisions the Ghost of Christmas Past, who beckons to take him instead of Scrooge on an unwanted journey to his childhood, forced to work in a vile factory after his father's arrest.

In the present, Dickens continues to find both the characters and his own family to be firmly out of his control, and worries about money begin to make him somewhat more like Scrooge. Certain real life people continue to inspire his new set of characters, such as his sister's son Henry, afflicted with lameness and a club waiter named Marley whose stumbling gait creates Scrooge's dead partner. His friend Foster, depressed over his true love's family refusing his proposal of marriage, ends up becoming the model for the Ghost of Christmas Present when Dickens has a dispute with his illustrator, John Leech. But Dickens' blockage continues to haunt him just as his father's antics and easy spending continue to frustrate him when he must pay the bills for it. His companion characters even begin to disobey him, and he turns on many who tried to aid him, including Tara, the maid who has loved his new story - until she disagreed with him over the fates of Scrooge and Tiny Tim.

Falling into both a rage and a depression, Dickens thinks upon the words his wife said and taunts from the imaginary Scrooge and finally confronts his past, returning to the filthy black-boot factory he was forced into as a boy. There, he makes the realization that while the past helped make him who he was, he needn't be bound by it. His change enables him to realize that even a man like Scrooge could be saved, and through him, Tiny Tim. While rushing to bring his completed novel to the printer, Dickens also makes amends with Tara, Foster, his wife and his parents as well, bringing them back to his home, where they join in a new tradition - something from Germany called a Tannenbaum. The end narration reveals that, by Christmas Eve that year, all copies of the first run had sold out, charitable giving skyrocketed, and the once-moribund celebration of Christmas was revitalized.


This film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 6, 2018.


Dan StevensCharles Dickens
Ely SolanCharles Dickens (young)
Mark SchrierPresenter
Patrick ByrnesStage manager
Miriam MargolyesMrs. Fisk
Morfydd ClarkKate Dickens
Justin EdwardsJohn Forster
Ghost of Christmas Present
Cosimo Massimo FuscoSignor Mazzini
Jasper Hughes-CotterWalter Dickens
James HeffernanCharley Dickens
Aleah LennonMamie Dickens
Ella DelaneyKatey Dickens
Donna SluddsMaid
David McSavageHall
Ian McNeiceChapman
Miles JuppThackeray
Pat MooneyGarrick Club waiter
Anna MurphyTara
Ghost of Christmas Past
Jonathan PryceMr. John Dickens
Ger RyanMrs. Dickens
Sam McGillicuddy, Rory O'NeillYoung Charles' brothers
Nancy Quinney, AllanahYoung Charles' sisters
Glynis CassonSociety lady
Amelia CrowleyMrs. Grimsby
Bill PatersonMr. Grimsby
Derek HannayToothless man
Derek O'Sullivan
John Delaney
Grave diggers
Christopher PlummerScrooge
Gerard LeeCleric
Patrick BallClerk
Martin PhilipsPawn broker
Donald SumpterHaddock
Ghost of Marley
Kevin McCormackBailiff
Aideen WyldeCharlotte Wigmore
Simon CallowLeech
Katie McGuinnessFanny Dickens
Mrs. Cratchit
Marcus LambRev. Henry Burnett
Bob Cratchit
Pearse KearneyHenry Jr.
Tiny Tim
Paul KealynWarren's foreman
Richard Coombs (voice)Punch & Judy
Michael JuddPie man
Eddie JacksonScam artist
Anthony MorrisNewsagent
John HenshawButcher
Mr. Fezziwig
Annette BadlandButcher's wife
Mrs. Fezziwig
Lynda GoughCharwoman
Jack Gunning, Christina Martina,
Ava Taylor
Cratchit children
Adam DolanWarren's factory boy
Cameron SimpsonPoll
Degnan GeraghtyChristmas tree vendor
John CollearyConstable Copperfield
Séan DugganMr. Grub
Jake (Raven)
James Wilson (voice)
George (Cat)Mittens
Valeria Bandino (uncredited)Tart
Desmond Bird (uncredited)Lover
Séamus Hanly (uncredited)Audience member
Mark Quigley (uncredited)Middle class
Roisin Whelan (uncredited)Maid

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