By Lindsay Steele – Now Streaming Review
Title: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
Genre: Animated, holiday, family
Streaming service: Peacock
Summary: A grumpy hermit hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville.
Synopsis: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas was my late father, Brad Schoon’s favorite Christmas movie. It came out in 1966 when he was just 6 years old.
Growing up, watching the televised broadcast was an essential part of our holiday traditions, just as it had been for my dad when he was a child. He incorporated it into his job as a high school science teacher, as well; each year on the last day before Christmas break, he showed it to the students and gave them a quiz.
My childhood nickname, Lou, derives from the film — perhaps another symbol of the warm feelings he had for this timeless holiday classic. When I was a toddler, he called me Lindsay Lou Who, “who was no more than two,” taking the famous quote about Cindy Lou and adapting it to me. I hated it, and despite my protesting — or perhaps because of it —it stuck. To this day, my mom, aunt, sister and some of my cousins still call me Lou. It feels strange if they call me anything else.
Somewhere along the way, it became my favorite Christmas movie, too, maybe because it’s a way for me to hold my dad close during the holiday season. He died after a courageous battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease 15 years ago this month.
I’ve seen the Ron Howard-directed live action version of the Grinch, as well as the animated feature-length production, released in 2019. Although they expand on the original book and film, offering more emphasis on the commercialization of Christmas, ostracism and other themes, the original, with a run time of a mere 26 minutes, will always be my favorite. It’s simple and straightforward, though it does have some flaws — particularly with the animation. There are several bits of repeated animation and some of the animation is inconsistent, especially in the movie’s climax where the mountain slope seems to change length and shape to fit each shot.
Still, its message of forgiveness remains poignant. The townspeople immediately forgive the Grinch after he shows remorse and tries to right his wrongs. The Grinch’s dog, Max, lets go of any anger he felt about being mistreated earlier in the story. The film also poses this question: if all the glitz, good food and gifts associated with western Christmas celebrations were taken away, would we still feel joy on Christmas morning? Would love for neighbor and God be enough?
This year, my 1-year-old daughter, Elsie, watched “The Grinch” for the first time. Her 6-year-old brother, Bradley, has already watched it countless times and knows it was Grandpa Brad’s favorite. Though Bradley and Elsie never had the privilege of meeting their grandfather in this life, his spirit remains alive through this holiday tradition.
What can you do to focus on the true meaning of the Advent/Christmas season?
Why do you think the Whos forgave the Grinch so easily?
Why do you think the Grinch had a change of heart? What can we do to facilitate a change of heart in those who are nonbelievers?
(Editor’s note: Lindsay Steele is a reporter for The Catholic Messenger. Contact her at email@example.com or by phone at (563) 888-4248.)