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Classic Holiday Traditions – How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Movie)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This Christmas movie directed by Ron Howard and starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch became an instant classic upon its release in 2000 and repeatedly makes critics’ lists as one of the best Christmas movies of all time.
It was also the first live action film based on a Doctor Seuss book and did a terrific job creating Whoville and its odd inhabitants. Jeffery Tambor as the mayor of Whoville and Christine Baranski as the Grinch’s potential love interest, Martha May Whovier, are stand-outs but its Jim Carrey, hidden beneath prosthetics and green make-up and completely unrecognizable, who makes this Christmas movie a classic.
True to the children’s book, this Grinch hates Christmas and any who celebrate it. He’s willing to go to great lengths to ruin it. In a flashback we understand why the Grinch, as a child, grew to hate Christmas and also sets up the rivalry between the Grinch and the Mayor for Martha May’s attention. As an adult the Grinch is left with a heart two sizes too small but a penchant for mischief. But just as his best/worst work is causing havoc in Whoville the Grinch encounters Cindy Lou Who-played by first timer six year old Taylor Momsen-and doesn’t stand a chance against her sweet disposition and hopeful attitude. Nominated by Cindy Lou for Whoville’s Cheermeister award during its one thousandth Whobilation, the Grinch reluctantly accepts only to be reminded by the mayor of the horrible treatment the Grinch received as a child.
In the final snub at the Whovians the Grinch will steal Christmas, and does so in a humorous montage, taking every present in every home. But awakening to a barren Christmas it’s Cindy Lou who teaches the town and ultimately the Grinch that Christmas isn’t about the presents.
What raises this Christmas movie above many others is its fine balance of humor and pathos led by the rubbery antics of Jim Carrey. It’s clear that many of the lines and physical comedy were adlibbed by Carrey including one scene that imitates Ron Howard’s direction. But he also manages to show a great deal of emotion beneath the make-up, a remarkable acting job that elevates what could have been a lightweight film into one of depth and emotion. There’s also a great deal of attention to detail, from the excellent make-up by Rick Baker, more known for his monsters than Whovians to the oddball and odd-sized Whoville itself. This is also a movie that holds up to multiple viewings and retains its charm throughout.
Narrated by Anthony Hopkins, the movie is rated PG with some possible scary moments for small children.

 

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