How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Directed by Ron Howard.
Starring Jim Carrey, Jeffery Tambor, Molly Shannon, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Taylor Momsen, and the voice of Anthony Hopkins.
This was my most anticipated movie of the holiday season. A live action movie of The Grinch. My mind boggled at the concept. And then, when I heard that Jim Carrey would be playing the Grinch, it seemed as though it was all coming together nicely. And, since it has now become the #1 movie of the year 2000, how could I keep denying myself the chance to see this film?
We’ve all seen the Christmas special, but they really did have to fill out the plot for the movie. Christmas time has come again to Whoville, but this has thrown little Cindy Lou Who (Momsen) into a bit of an existential quandary. Her father, Lou Lou Who (Irwin) is Whoville’s postmaster, and he’s all caught up in the holiday rush that comes along with his job. Her mother, Betty Lou Who (Shannon), is obsessed with beating her next door neighbour, Martha May Whovier (Baranski) with the bestest Christmas display. So, Cindy Lou begins to wonder, is all this rampant commercialism what Christmas is all about, or is there something more? But, we can’t forget our title character, the Grinch (Carrey). He sits upon his mountain top and glares out at the Whos. He hates the Whos and their whole Who society, and it’s at Christmas when they get at their absolute worst, with their rampant gift-giving and incredibly loud song-singing. But, in the Grinch, Cindy Lou sees a kindred spirit, and longs to know why he hates the Whos and Christmas so much. She investigates the Grinch’s past, and, believing that there is good in everyone, tries to get the Grinch involved in the Whos’ Christmas festivals. But, her efforts backfire, and the Grinch winds up hating Christmas even more. He soon comes up with an awful, grinchy idea: he’ll steal Christmas from the Whos. Will the Grinch succeed in this scheme? Will he win back his one true love? Will both he and Cindy Lou discover what this holiday is all about?
In terms of visual design, this movie is absolutely amazing. The world in which the Whos live is a triumph of production design. The folks at Digital Domain do an outstanding job on the effects. I also really loved the performances in this film. Carrey is wonderfully nasty as the Grinch. His spin on the Grinch is more along the lines of a mischif maker than a truly evil force. And yes, it’s just enough Carrey showing through to make us remember why Ace Ventura was such a hit. Baranski does a great job as a woman longing for her true love, Hannibal Lecter makes a great narrator, and that is one darn cute little girl playing Cindy Lou Who. Everything about this film is great, but…. I knock off a nib because, well, I got the subtle jokes about marital infidelity and spouse swapping, and it made me uncomfortable that they snuck those into a family film. But, if you, like most 8-year olds, don’t get those two jokes, you’ll find a great movie that’s very much in keeping with the Dr. Seuss original.