Film Review: A Christmas Carol

Tis the season of goodwill to all men, but it would be interesting to see what Ebenezer Scrooge made of the modern Christmas. By mid-November we’re bombarded with TV adverts, work parties and dreadful ‘Hallmark’ movies. Bah humbug indeed! Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol remains a cherished and pertinent part of the festivities. It has had myriad film adaptations. The latest is a little different.

As is their tradition, a Victorian family prepare for their annual toy-theatre performance of A Christmas Carol. As the show begins, we’re transported into the imagination of a young boy. The cardboard stage fades away to be replaced by a magical theatrical world. We’re steered through Dickens’ famous tale by an ensemble of dancers (led by Michael Nunn as Scrooge) with parts narrated by a talented voice cast (Simon Russell Beale, Carey Mulligan, Daniel Kaluuya et al).

You could be forgiven for thinking that the world probably doesn’t need another adaptation of A Christmas Carol, but Jacqui and David Morris’ vision is unique. Fusing dance, theatre, traditional animation and eclectic narration, we’re treated to an experience which ranges from the magical to the grating. When it works, A Christmas Carol immerses us into beautifully staged world of wonder. It has, for the most part, a timeless quality. Unfortunately, we’re frequently awoken from this dream by a bum note. However, it’s certainly a welcome addition to the festive calendar.

A Christmas Carol is in cinemas from 4 December.

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