The Grinch

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is not a film one would typically view during a summer vacation. If the title isn’t a hint enough, the story is a Christmas movie with all the frills intact. You have decorations. You have presents. You have a tale about a place called Whoville and its villain, a greedy creature that lives in the mountains preparing an assault on an unsuspecting populace.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I’m one of those people who doesn’t pay attention to reviews before watching a movie. If anything, I ignore what people say about a film until I see it and make up my own mind about whether I like it or not. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of those movies you either love or hate. After reading the reviews on IMDB.com, I’m glad to have watched it first in order to form my own opinion. I love the film. Some may disagree with me, but that is an opinion.

We can agree to disagree.

The Grinch (Jim Carrey) isn’t the kind of creature you’d find in any ordinary story. Then again, this story isn’t ordinary. The plot focuses on the Grinch finding fulfillment in hate. The Grinch hates Christmas. But there is more to it than simple hate. He despises Christmas. He loathes it.

With that knowledge, how on earth would I even consider the character the Grinch a Wednesday Warrior?

The Grinch
The Grinch

He lives in the town’s dump. He eats rotten onions as a snack. He has all sorts of bugs running around his teeth—if you’ve seen the movie then you know what I mean. He sabotages children’s toys.

Oh, the Grinch is a real winner, for sure.

Yet, despite the relative evil twinkling in his eyes, the Grinch has more going on in that noggin of his than few may suspect. Somehow, little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen), the daughter of the town’s postmaster, has grown quite fond of the menace and believes he has a heart—even if it is two sizes too small. She sees something in the Grinch others can’t comprehend. It may have to do with him having rescued her from the jaws of the mail-processing machine. Or, it could be that she finds him to be someone willing to make a change for the better.

Now, if you’ve seen the film, I won’t spoil it for anyone else. We know what happens. If you haven’t seen it, the Grinch is a character worth studying. His traits at first may appear unsettling, but there’s a reason for that. Not everything is what it seems, and this is the reason why critics either love or hate this film.

The Grinch is a reflection of those lost before found, taken before brought back, hated before loved. Whatever anyone thinks of the Grinch, it is nothing in comparison to his redemption, which ultimately deals with the changing of that heart two sizes too small to a real heart.

But really, isn’t that the essence of good character—to change after realizing what once was, was wrong?

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Have you seen How the Grinch Stole Christmas? What do you think about the Grinch?

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11 thoughts on “The Grinch

  1. Love The Grinch with Jim Carrey and still watch it every year! Nothing wrong with the cartoon version, but I grew up more with the film, so that’s part of Christmas for me! That, and I love the additional humor and songs 🙂 When teaching and the holidays, I do a lesson comparing the Grinch in the cartoon to the movie. Lots of similarities and differences!

  2. I LOVE that move. For years I believed that only me and my old roommate (who introduced it to me) were the only ones. While I of course adore the original cartoon, I didn’t have nearly as much problem with the live action, and I don’t think it deserves half the hatred it gets. It has a beautiful score, excellent makeup, and it extends the story in such a way that’s not ridiculous for a feature length film.

  3. All due respect to Mr. Jim Carrey ( Man in the Moon, Bruce Almighty , Liar, Liar – His 3 best movies ), but I GREW UP with the original & loved it, loved it, loved it. It was like a musical animated primer for ” A Christmas Carol “. Boris Karloff still holds up well voicing the Lean, Green Grinching Machine, PLUS – Thurl Ravenscroft, AKA, the voice of Kellog’s ” Tony the Tiger ” sang the score in an iconic ( Overused word sometimes, but I like it ) fashion.

  4. I love this post, Jack. To me, now that I think deeply about it, the Grinch is almost the perfect fable, on so many levels. (Sorry, but I have to use the book; not this Jim Carrey version of the movie–though the original cartoon, in which Boris Karloff is the best voice-actor choice ever!, is quite impressive.) It’s secular, first of all, so it seems to me it can apply to virtually anyone: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Shintoist, Buddist, or no religion (to name but a few). The message is really simple, and the language, while packaged for children, is one of those subversive works, to my mind, that has so many resonances for adults (nonwriters and writers). I mean, “Your brain is full of spiders”; even though I like spiders, that’s so creepy (in the lyrics; I don’t recall if it’s in the book), almost in a Grimm’s fairy tale sort of way: darkly magical. You might even say that the Grinch is a retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and also riffs on “The Night before Christmas.” And, like The Lorax (another of my favorite Seuss books), it’s subversively political in its message of anti-consumerism (the Grinch strips away all the material/tangible trappings of Christmas/Holiday X and the people still enjoy each other’s company). Anyway, exactly what you’ve said here Jack . . . a simple, if bifurcated message: (a) righting a wrong/redemption and (b) empathy/compassion, even for those perhaps not at all like us (with or without their roast beast and Who hash). Brilliant!

    • The Grinch story is a GREAT intro for kids to Dickens ” Christmas Carol “. At least back in my youth ( Don’t ask….. 🙂 ). No religious overtones – Even Dickens had religious allusions in ” A Christmas Carol ” – just good fun with a moral / ethical message.

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