I found myself watching “FX Presents A Christmas Carol” & I could not stop texting my best friend – let’s call her “L.”
She has the patience of a saint, because I had a lot to say. Coming from someone who always has a lot to say, I’m sure she was overwhelmed.
The first thing I messaged her about?
BIG FAT TRIGGER WARNINGS:
I really felt this “miniseries” could have done more to warn viewers about its content. It warned us we’d hear foul language, & that we’d see a naked female behind.
But there weren’t any warnings about the show implicating & depicting –
- Child sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Child drowning/dead child
- Coercive sexual assault
- Sexual blackmail
If I saw a reason L might get upset, I texted her immediately. She hadn’t even decided if she was going to watch it or not.
However, I felt compelled to warn L of every single way the series made me have a negative emotional reaction.
Because it was the gut-punching elements that made this portrayal of Charles Dickens’s story come to life.
Also, she’s pregnant. She’s growing a whole ‘nother person & I will do whatever I can to keep her from having a negative feeling. I refuse to let her cry for two.
Why THIS Version of A Christmas Carol?
Those were some reasons I thought L might want to approach this movie with caution. I’m glad I got the chance to warn her – it was a fluke that I watched it at all, let alone before her!
Big shocker – as a Jewish person, I don’t really care for Christmas stories, movies, music, etc. Please see my 2016 post, “A Lonely Jew On Christmas” for more info.
As such, I haven’t seen a filmed/animated/staged version of A Christmas Carol before now. (I don’t count Bill Murray’s “Scrooged.” If you think I should, try & come at me – I don’t care. LOL)
Somehow, the commercials for “FX Presents A Christmas Carol” must have brainwashed me or something. Because, I can’t put my finger on why I wanted to watch it.
Whatever the reason – I’m glad I watched it. From the start, with a young man pissing on Jacob Marley’s grave, to the last moments where Ebenezer Scrooge is learning redemption, this was a fantastic freaking show!
I’m Still a Scrooge, but FX Touched My Heart
One of the first texts to L while I was watching A Christmas Carol was, “I may have a lot in common with Scrooge. & I’m OK with that.”
This was only true for about fifteen seconds, of course. We quickly learn that Scrooge is an obsessive-compulsive, vindictive, icy … well, a—hole. Guy Pearce does a really good job, but my opinion may be colored by the fact I think he’s ridiculously good looking.
The setting was fairly realistic. They managed to make it look very much what I think life by candlelight might look. That can’t be easy for a movie set.
That realism made the moments where the movie became grotesque & fantastic stand out even more. Because they were also realistic. Like when Marley had to reattach his jaw after transforming from a door-knocker to human-shaped dead person in Scrooge’s house – it looked both impossible & realistic.
I compared it, & other moments where the action goes from what we imagine could happen to us to completely bonkers, then back again, as a mix of Tim Burton & “Game of Thrones.” I have no good evidence to support these comparisons – it was just a gut feeling.
But, beyond the physical realism, this version adds a level of emotional realism that required my multiple texted trigger warnings. Perhaps in ways similar to the shows & movies mentioned above require warnings.
It makes Ebenezer Scrooge out to be a very damaged human being. It shows the trauma he endured because of money, how he related everything to money… how he used money to damage other people.
It shows the strength of the women in his life. The women he hurt, without knowing how much he’d hurt them. It showed him becoming human.
But, in the end it was realistic – it showed him receiving not forgiveness, nor asking for it. He wanted to give for the sake of doing good. For the sake of becoming a better human.
I think – true to the original text – the movie had religious undertones that threw me off a little. I liked that it showed him, in the end, not redeemed but seeking redemption in the time he had left on earth. I think there’s something about that in the Christian faith.
It just wasn’t going to appeal to me.
Watch it if you like creepy, dark, emotional turmoil. With subtle religious undertones that you can ignore if you want.
FX is cutting out a niche for itself with dark, edgy, trippy content. I do find myself enjoying programs aired on the station, so it’s not surprising I enjoyed their interpretation of this classic.
Perhaps “FX Presents A Christmas Carol” won’t become the next “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” which L & others watch every holiday season. But, it’ll have a place in the heart of all the cynical buggers, like me.