DVD Review - Scrooge & Marley (2012)

David Pevsner as Scrooge
This is the gay version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It takes the story, which has been told in countless ways, even using Jim Henson's Muppets, and does it with every character being in the LGBT community.

David Pevsner stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, referred to as Ben for short. He's the miserly owner of a gay bar who is very misanthropic and mean to his employees but to be fair at his middle-age he's misanthropic and mean to everyone. This is of course true to Dickens' classic. What is interesting is how writers Ellen Stoneking, Richard Knight and Timothy Imse decide to twist the situation, while in this modern context.

One twist is one that the writers didn't need to work hard to craft. David Moretti co-stars as Robert Cratchit, the manager of Scrooge's bar. As in Dickens' book, Robert is married with children. One of which is a sick boy named Tim. The difference is that Cratchit is married to a lovely man named Drew and their small ones are either adopted or foster children. Tim here is asthmatic, which isn't the twist. The twist is Cratchit pushing for Scrooge to implement healthcare for all employees, so that he can provide for Tim.

This movie premiered in 2012 in time for the holidays, which was in the wake of President Barack Obama's re-election. That political season had at its forefront the issue of healthcare and the upcoming implementation of the recently-passed law, officially titled the Affordable Care Act, but referred to as Obamacare. Republicans bitterly opposed it and the writers of this movie seem to tap into all of that.

Scrooge in some ways represent the Republicans. He's all about money and making it, even to the exclusion of social and personal concerns, and often with no regard for others or little empathy. I suppose to maintain the metaphor Cratchit represents Obama, not really though. Yet, while connecting the Obamacare issue to Dickens' A Christmas Carol might have been on the writers' minds, it's a connection that's rather superficial.

The movie's most powerful section and the connection that's rather deep is when Scrooge gets a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past, played by Ronnie Kroell. The Ghost shows Scrooge his life as a teenager leading up to how he became who he now is. For directors Richard Knight and Peter Neville, this section is essentially a short film within this film, a section that touches on themes that are common in many gay films, but the performances are so strong and the arc that's written is so soul-searing that it towers over the rest. While making all the major characters gay has no real bearing or implication in the rest of the story, it does so here and perhaps resonates better as Scrooge's origins than even what Dickens wrote back in 1843.

Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 30 mins.


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