SPIRITED. Carolling with Ryan Reynolds

Spirited entertains in a subtle way.

Dawid Myśliwiec

22 November 2022

Spirited spirited 2

The category of “Christmas movie” is quite capacious, although for some time now we have been associating it with either reruns of Home Alone, or Christmas romances, in which not only Hallmark or Lifetime, but also Netflix, already specialize. Every now and then, however, someone makes an attempt to create a new Christmas classic and – usually – fails miserably. Spirited, however, seems to have exceptionally strong predispositions to become such a Christmas classic – it features Charles Dickens, Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell and Octavia Spencer, plus musical titans with brilliant songs for La La Land and The Greatest Showman. So does Sean Anders’ film have a chance to compete with the McAllisters and Griswolds for Christmas audiences this year?

Spirited is an Apple TV+ musical, which was heavily rumored over a year ago, when Ryan Reynolds announced that it was the Sean Anders film that would be his last for a while. He didn’t last too long on his acting vacation, however, as he was already filming other productions in the middle of this year. However, given that the Canadian star hasn’t slowed down for a moment in the past few years, Spirited is undoubtedly of exceptional importance on his resume. So how does this sarcastic handsome man perform in the Christmas-musical repertoire? Surprisingly well. Although in terms of vocal skills he’s closer to another Canadian Ryan, Gosling, than to his heartthrob friend Hugh Jackman, Reynolds in Spirited doesn’t betray musical jitters at all. The Deadpool star sings and dances like an inspiration, although in more than one interview he admitted that learning these two acts was more difficult for him than anything else in his already not-so-short acting career.


Spirited is a modernized and remixed version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with Ryan Reynolds playing Clint Briggs, a marketing spin doctor who is something like today’s Ebenezer Scrooge. The cynical and spoiled man wants to change the Ghost of Christmas Present (played by Will Ferrell), acting in partnership with the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Sunita Mani) and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Comes (Tracy Morgan), and since some time ago Mr. Briggs was deemed “unreformable,” the matter takes on an ambition dimension. The problem is that Clint seems to have a resistance to spiritual transformations and is leading the Ghost of Christman Present by the nose – so much so that the latter begins to wonder about his own fate and future. It soon becomes apparent that the men have a lot to offer each other, though they will have to go through a great deal to finally understand it. Densely interspersed with songs by Oscar-winning duo Benj Pasek-Justin Paul, Spirited is the perfect Christmas adventure: full of dynamic action, conscious kitsch, really impressive-looking special effects and pleasant humor, and above all, a real Christmas atmosphere. Anders’ film is all about what Christmas is all about – the search for goodness, reconciliation, finding the best in each other.

Spirited entertains in a subtle way – adults will appreciate the self-deprecating humor (“Do we really have to sing again?”), the creative dialogue with the literary original, younger viewers will be appealed to by the more physical, slapstick gags, which are also not lacking here. When it’s not entertaining, Anders’ film is sincerely moving and thought-provoking – including about the condition of modern humanity. Spirited meets all the requirements of a holiday movie blockbuster – I hope that, like me, you will find time for it, somewhere between Christmas dishes and Home Alone.

Dawid Myśliwiec

Dawid Myśliwiec

Always in "watching", "about to watch" or "just watched" mode. Once I've put my daughter to bed, I sit down in front of the screen and disappear - sometimes losing myself in some American black crime story, and sometimes just absorbing the latest Netflix movie. For the past 12 years, I have been blogging with varying intensity at MyśliwiecOglą

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