As freaky and melodramatic as Dickens could get (it was the Victorian era, after all), I love his tale of redemption in A Christmas Carol. The idea that it is never too late to be your best self and to change the world is one that reinvigorates me every year.
There is quite an array of interpretations of Scrooge's night on the town, but my all-time favorite is the aptly-named Scrooge, starring Albert Finney, who, despite being a young man at the time of filming (1970), does a phenomenal job of portraying an old man. Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi) also makes a showing as an amusing and refined Jacob Marley.
First off, it's a musical. But even if you're not a musical fan, you very well might enjoy this. They did not choose Albert Finney for his operatic voice, but I like that. He sings like the broken-down old man Scrooge was, so his voice comes out refreshingly "off," in the way us laypeople sing in the shower. The tunes are so fun and (for me anyway) tear-inducing at times. And if you don't find yourself tapping your toes to "Thank You Very Much," then you may want to check your pulse.
The film, in fact, was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Original Song (Thank You Very Much), Best Score, Costume Design, and Best Art Direction.
My favorite part, of course, is the end when he realizes he is still flesh-and-blood and, while he can't undo many of his past wrongs, he has the opportunity to move forward in the kindest manner possible, leaving the earth a better place for having been there. (Sound familiar?) Here is that scene I'm referring to. I love how giddy he gets, releasing all that pent-up energy of a small child. :)
This is the scene I want to join in! It looks like such fun!! (Years ago, I worked at a wonderful music camp where we did Saturday night folk dancing which thrilled me to the bone.)
And I think this one is the favorite of anyone who's seen the movie. Scrooge happens upon a future vision of Christmas, seeing all the people who owed him money celebrating some mysteriously wonderful thing he did.
And what would a musical be without a big finale? Love it!
So I encourage you to get this on your Netflix list right away! But if you can't wait, the whole thing is on Youtube in 11 parts. :)
I hope the message rings with you too! Our actions may have hurt animals in the past, but for most of us, it was done in total ignorance. So think about following in Scrooge's dancing footsteps, and just use the new knowledge you have to make the world a better place for all beings. As the Ghost of Christmas Present says below (5:39), "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing to try to do is as much as you can in the time that you have ... Remember Scrooge, time is short! And suddenly you're not there any more!"