Mona’s Movies: Spirited

Is change even possible and can people forgive themselves? The new movie Spirited explores these questions in a way both profound and hilarious. “Spirited” is a 2022 musical comedy Christmas film now available to stream on Apple TV+. Spirited is directed by Sean Anders and written and produced
by Anders and John Morris. Starring Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, Octavia Spencer, Sunita Mani, Patrick Page, Marlow Barkley and the voice of Tracy Morgan as the Ghost of Christmas yet to come. The film is a modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ 1943 novella, “A Christmas Carol”. The music score is by Dominic Lewis, with songs written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Running time is 127 minutes.

Although “Spirited” follows in the footsteps of a long list of musical retellings of “A Christmas Carol,” it’s the first to pick up where Scrooge’s story left off. Ever since his death, Scrooge (Will Ferrell) has been tasked with the role of the ghost of Christmas Present. He, along with his old friend Marley and a team of afterlife spirits, continues to change hearts, one soul at a time each Christmas Eve. Scrooge has been eligible for “retirement” for decades and could have a second chance on earth of settling down with a fresh start, but has refused due to his fear of repeating past mistakes.

This years’ “perp” is a renowned controversial media consultant, Clint Briggs, played by Ryan Reynolds. Marley believes him to be “unredeemable” and is hesitant to attempt to save him. Scrooge sees Clint as a person with the potential to create huge ripples of good in this world if redeemed. With strong convincing from Scrooge, the team takes on the task, but Clint will not be an easy assignment. Both arrogant and dismissive of the ghosts trying to redeem him, Clint causes chaos and disruption to the well oiled redemption project.

The story is conveyed through the music of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, best known for Academy and Grammy award winning music from “La La Land,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” and “The Greatest Showman.” Pasek and Paul take you on an emotional and comedic lyrical journey inside the minds of the characters. The characters are all relatable because they are shown as imperfect and flawed, especially the main duo of Scrooge and Clint, played hilariously by Ferrell and Reynolds. The two share the screen for much of the film and their comedic chemistry shines bright in every scene. The actors genuinely seem to be having a good time making this film together. They are backed up by a top notch supporting cast of actors, singers and dancers. A Christmas movie like this, could have felt overly sentimental, but the character development feels natural and the story is grounded by a healthy
balance of hope and cynicism.

“Spirited” is not just a movie about becoming a better person, but a movie about learning to love yourself. If you are looking for a new Christmas movie this holiday season, you cannot go wrong with “Spirited.” But do we really need another rehashing of this tired tale once again? Of course we do, ya big Scrooge!