It really seems like every year I get older, the more prone I become to bursting into tears at specifically children-aimed animated movies. It happened first with Paddington 2 at the top of the year, and again at Smallfoot (in which Zendaya is Meechee), and now at this year’s rendition of The Grinch. I hadn’t seen the previous versions of this beloved Dr. Seuss tale, so I didn’t exactly have a huge idea of what to expect going in. I certainly didn’t expect to cry at three different occasions while watching this adorable green fur monster basically go through depression and anxiety. All I can say is - The Grinch was the most relatable movie of 2018.
Brought to us by Illumination Entertainment, home to our treasured minions, The Grinch really found an animation style that really suited the story it was delivering. This truly was one of the cutest films I’ve seen, and Max the dog is just SO DAMN CUTE! He makes Mr. Grinch a hot cup of French press coffee every morning, come on! From what I heard, this rendition was more bare-bones about the story of the Grinch, but to me, they made up for it with all the animated flourishes that CGI as a medium allowed it. The sequence of the Grinch stealing Christmas from Whoville is a such a feat in creativity. And of course, how could I forget Fred the fat reindeer, who leaves the crew to tend to his cute ass family, only to return to help the Grinch.
The Grinch is basically a #relatableAF, depressed Millennial who just wants to live alone in his mansion mountain away from society. He is riddled with depression and social anxiety - which is understandable given his traumatic orphaned childhood. But what I loved about this Grinch was that his quirks and personality was oddly relatable and adorable. There is a scene in which he basically mourns his life by dramatically playing the organs - and if that’s not the Grinch version of depressingly listening to all your favorite sad, slow songs to make yourself feel sad, I don’t know what is. And even better than that is the fact that he basically deals with all of this through not confrontation, but rampant avoidance - whether it be playing the organs to pass the time, eating all his winter food as feelings, or literally inventing a million contraptions to become the best fake Santa to steal Christmas from his enemies. But of course, you probably knew all this because it’s the essential story of The Grinch. This version merely made it cuter.
Cindy Lou Who, the little girl in the story, has her own goals in this story, which is to make her single mom feel better. Cindy Lou, just like myself, is the oldest sister of two younger twin brothers, and wow. Talk about RELATABLE! I do wish there was an actual payoff to all the effort Cindy Lou & Co. put into trying to meet Santa-ahem-Grinch-Claus to grant her wish. But, in spite of all of that, the film ends quite nicely with the Grinch joining Cindy Lou and the rest of the Whos in a nice Christmas dinner, at which the Grinch essentially says the thing we all feel in adulthood (traumatic childhood or not), which is he disliked being lonely and neglected. But with this new community surrounding him, his heart tripled in size and he was able to celebrate Christmas with all his heart. It’s also a great visual detail that the creatures of Whoville, including the humans and the Grinch, all kind of look the same. There’s no notable difference in facial and body structure between the Grinch and the Whos (other than the green and fur of course), which I thought was a beautiful touch.
Some of the best parts of the film, aside from story and animation, came from the voice acting and soundtrack. From Benedict Cumberbatch to Rashida Jones to Kenan Thompson to Pharrell Williams as part of the voice cast, The Grinch was already set up to succeed. But add to that a killer soundtrack from Tyler, the Creator (whose rumored dream was to soundtrack a film), this Grinch is easily a beautiful and quirky addition to the other two Grinch films.