Ms. Scrooge
directed by John Korty
(Power, 1997)

For a fascinatingly modern and feminine adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, get Ms. Scrooge.

Ebenita Scrooge's former boss and mentor, Maude Marley (Katherine Helmond) begins to haunt Ebenita (Cicely Tyson). She tells Ebenita that three ghosts will soon appear to her. The ghost of Christmas past (Michael J. Reynolds) appears at midnight and shows her the best Christmas of her childhood, the way she cared about her family, what happened with her dad, her decision to come to Rhode Island and the ramifications of that choice, and the way she valued money over humans.

The next ghost takes her to see the home and family of Bob Cratchit (John Bourgeois) and to hear a sermon from her nephew, Reverend Luke (Michael Beach). The final ghost takes her to see Tiny Tim Cratchit (William Greenblatt) dying, then takes her to see her own death inside her money vault. Worse, she sees the IRS taking all the money for which she squandered her life.

Is it too late for Ebenita to make things right?

This is the best serious adaptation of this classic that I have found. Tyson takes the Ebenita Scrooge character to the highest level. With her pursed lips and perpetual scowl, she is perfect. Her enunciation of words is so clipped and business-like at all times, then, at the end, her voice becomes musical and her laughter contagious.

Do not expect to see any special effects here. This film stands solely on the solid acting, which is more than enough to keep the viewer engrossed in the story. And it will not matter that you know the plot. This film makes you feel as if you are hearing it for the first time.

I love the musical score and cannot keep my feet still while watching this movie.

Ms. Scrooge is the new classic version of a classic. This is a must-own Christmas movie that everybody can enjoy.

review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

20 December 2008

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