On Christmas Eve, the ghosts of the Past, Present and Future choose a lost soul in need of moral and emotional salvation from a sinful existence. This year, this soul is a successful businessman Clint (Ryan Reynolds), a man who has lost his fear and conscience. However, instead of learning the lesson, Clint awakens an identity crisis in the very ghost of the Present (Will Ferrell), who is clearly tired of his moralizing image.

Will Ferrell as the True Spirit in a still from In the Spirited
Will Ferrell as the True Spirit in a still from In the Spirited

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is one of the most famous (and moralizing!) works in pop culture, which has hundreds of references in modern cinema, from episodes of Beavis and Butt-head to full-fledged adaptations directed by Richard Donner (A New Christmas fairy tale”), Mark S. Waters (“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”) and Robert Zemeckis (“A Christmas Carol”). The roles of Scrooge at various times were performed by Bill Murray, Jim Carrey and Matthew McConaughey.

In the new version of the fairy tale, the classic plot has not changed much: all the same three ghosts of the Past, Present and Future travel through the life of the protagonist, breaking into the most personal memories, trying to conduct a painful psychotherapy session and, finally, lead Clint to the true path. With only one amendment: now the ghosts of the Past, Present and Future are not just magical spirits, but employees of some international corporation that has been correcting human souls for thousands of years. Like all ordinary mortals, they dream of retirement, start office romances and are afraid of evil bosses. They might even get paid. Here, a special group of specialists in special effects is responsible for restoring personal moments from the client’s life, and the work itself is carried out according to a special scenario agreed in advance with the director. Why, they even have their own personal eychar.

Octavia Spencer as Kimberly in Spirited
Octavia Spencer as Kimberly in Spirited

A parody of corporate culture is probably the only truly “fresh” idea in the film by Sean Anders (“Hello, Dad New Year!”), Because in everything else, Spirited repeats the original source almost line by line, supplementing it with postmodern gags and unpretentious songs on the background of a decorated Christmas tree. It all feels like some kind of sketch show in places, an extended Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live, where the plot works as a setting for jokes, and not vice versa.

Ryan Reynolds as Clint in Spirited
Ryan Reynolds as Clint in Spirited

The genre of the musical, like everything in this film, is rather arbitrary: there is no dizzying choreography of Singing in the Rain, the dramatic scope of Les Misérables, or the melancholic sincerity of La La Land. Singing Ryan Reynolds, of course, is a rare guest in our area, but not as important and necessary as it might seem at first glance. Will Ferrell here completely departed from the role of a comedian, reincarnated as an eternally tired ghost who secretly dreams of returning to simple earthly joys, to remove the third part of the Anchorman in the end.

In the Spirited feels like a quintessential streaming product, designed solely to take a place in Apple TV+’s holiday movie library and be used for background viewing with friends at best. One thing is reassuring: filming all this was, of course, a lot of fun.


  1. Ryan Reynolds is the wizard of the new decade. Almost any family film with him in the title role is doomed to success. Yes, I was bribed by the trailer, but I did not expect to see a good musical. And these songs are pleasant to listen, most of them do not want to rewind.

     “Spirited” is a comedy that, for reasons unknown to me, came out ahead of time. After all, it’s still a month before Christmas. However, I am surprised from my bell tower, because in Thailand, in principle, there is no snow, but in European countries it is already gradually falling.

     I think the season of Christmas decorations is about to begin, if it has not already started in retail chains. And the movie left me with extremely positive emotions. Everything about it is perfect, from start to finish. Everything is logical, everything is beautiful, stylish, sincere, as if I returned to my childhood for a couple of hours. After all, here is:

     – a wonderful duo of Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, you can hardly see such chemistry anywhere.

     – songs that I will definitely listen to once again, but with original voices.

     – good special effects and scenery, done with soul, like in old films about Christmas.

     – normal development of characters, without sharp jumps at the behest of the screenwriter.

     What more could you want from a winter comedy on Christmas Eve and other holidays? This movie is worth our time. The only question is, when to watch? After all, you can evaluate even today or right on Christmas night. The choice is yours, and I’m not averse to reevaluating when that day comes. I recommend!

  2. Not a fan of Christmas movies, but I was attracted by the face of Ryan Reynolds on the Spirited cover, because the mood was going down and I wanted to correct this situation by watching a light and positive film. And recently, Reynolds has established himself as an ambassador for such content. And looking ahead, this film is no exception.

     So, the film begins, and if you have not studied its ins and outs from the annotation in detail, then very soon and suddenly you realize that this is a musical! It all depends on personal preference, of course. But even if you are, to put it mildly, “not a fan”, then you can’t get away: with a light joke on the genre, you are immersed in a magical world where you simply cannot live this life without charming songs and dances! By the way, about this.

     When watching such films, you catch yourself thinking about how good Hollywood is in staging a beautiful, exciting show. The dancing is beautiful, you can see the dedication not only of the actors in the leading roles, but of all the participants in each scene, everyone gives all the best, not just performing, but literally living their number. The compositions are incendiary, heartfelt, and in some cases quite well rhymed for adaptation.

     Ryan Reynolds is in “Spirited” in his usual role, but the degree is slightly lowered, since this is still a duet and Will Ferrell periodically manages to pull the blanket over himself. By the way, about Will: no less beautiful and charming than Reynolds in musical numbers. If you watched the TV series “The Shrink Next Door”, then the character will seem familiar to you, but now he has moved to the other side of the barricades, but this is not accurate.

     In general, the impression of the film is positive, spiritually the film resembles the “Protagonist” with Ryan – light, dynamic, cheerful, sometimes sad, sometimes deep and inspiring. Deconstruction of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol “, which, as always, tries to explain that the eternal pursuit of success and financial well-being risks turning each of us into a cruel and cold monster who sees in everyone only functions to achieve a result, and that if this if you don’t realize it in time, then life will pass, and you still won’t understand why you feel spiritual emptiness inside when, by all indications, you seem to be a successful person. And no – this story is not about the fact that “money does not buy happiness”, but about the fact that in any situation you need to remain human, try to be open and friendly, then the world will become a little brighter.

     Although the ending is quite fabulous (which is not surprising, because this is a “Christmas Tale”), nevertheless, in difficult times, such pictures help to at least get out of the abyss of negativity, cheer up and create a festive, Christmas atmosphere.

     7 out of 10

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