Movie Review: “The Grinch” (2018) ★★★★


Despite Dr. Seuss’ book How the Grinch stole Christmas getting just its third adaptation on to the big screen, it feels like it’s been around forever. There’s something special about the green and hairy creature that will never stop fascinating us. But its the premise that helps this story to grow older gloriously – loneliness tend to break hearts, kill desires, to replace the light, and even make people despise everything that’s around when they feel completely alone. Grinch, perhaps, is an evil character, but his heart, no matter how hard he tries, has never been as gentle and kind.

Whoville is getting ready for another Christmas. The mayor promises to make this holiday three times bigger than before. A large tree is travelling via air for the Lighting Tree event when Grinch, all alone with his best friend, doggie Max, is getting ready to steal the only thing that upsets him but brings happiness to others – Christmas. As he gets ready to dress up like Santa Claus, little Cindy Lou is preparing for her own quest, to catch Santa Claus on the night he arrives so she can have a one-on-one discussion with him about her widowed mother who works day and night to provide for her children.

It all begins with Grinch, who just realizes that he has no food left at all. He plans to make a trip down to the city when he, once again, gets irritated by everything that reminds him of Christmas. As some viewers may be prepared to dislike him for being evil, the backstory delivers the answer that explains Grinch’s obsession with Christmas and his reasons to despise it with all his heart. Indeed, Grinch had always been alone and unhappy during Christmas time when he was in the orphanage. Because, while all the other children were somewhere else, he would spend the holiday with the walls that were as cold as winter itself. And that’s when the idea came to him to lock himself in a café with one justification – “it’s better this way.”

Co-directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney, Benedict Cumberbatch as Grinch, Rashida Jones as Donna Lou, Cameron Seely as Cindy Lou, Angela Lansbury as mayor McGerkle, Pharrell Williams as the narrator, the renewed version of animated “The Grinch” is as good as it could have been. While it manages to emphasize the ugly actions of Grinch, it still highlights why Grinch is still admirable due to his ability to reverse his bad behavior, finding courage to change himself and do the right thing for once. “I thought, by stealing your Christmas it will fix something that happened long time ago. But it did not.” He says at one point, puzzled and already deeply upset when he realized that all the anger he carried with him through the years was simply unjustified and unreasonable.

Overall, “The Grinch” is an adorable and charming family movie that teaches not to hate, bring joy whenever we can, and love each other. More importantly, it talks about the true meaning of family, hard work, and how children like Cindy Lou struggle every day, helplessly waiting for a miracle so that the hardship of their family ease a bit. Indeed, you may find “The Grinch” to be just a story for children. But somehow, it fastracks to every heart because there are many little ones out there like Grinch, who are completely alone, hate every single holiday because there’s not even a single person on earth to cherish the happiness with them. “It’s not Christmas I did not like. It’s being alone” says Grinch, now an almost 60 years old man. Now imagine, what a kid may think when he or she finds themselves completely alone during holidays?

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