Nerds Gets Cheery: Revisiting ‘The Grinch’ (2018)

9 Min Read

The Christmas season means it’s time for us here at Nerds to get Cheery! In the month of December we share some of our favorite holiday movies and TV shows. Today we will be talking about a name that has become synonymous with Christmas, and that name is The Grinch.

Ever since 1966 when the original Grinch animated movie made its debut, people’s love for this green grumpy character has only grown. While many will say their favorite adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book is 2000’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I personally think there is a new fan favorite Grinch movie many may not know about. In 2018, Illumination released The Grinch, with an amazing cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Angela Lansbury, Kenan Thompson, and Pharrell Williams just to name a few.


Like the adaptations that came before it,The Grinch follows the tale of how the Grinch hates Christmas and steals it from the Who village to keep it from happening. Unlike the movies before it, this version adds a great deal more heart. This story begins with viewers joining the Grinch waking up in his impressive cave home. We get to see how he has made many inventions that help his absolutely adorable dog Max serve him coffee in the mornings. Pharrell Williams brings a fresh take to the classic Grinch song that plays over the opening scene.

When Mr. Grinch sits down to enjoy his breakfast, he finds none. Apparently he has been emotionally eating a little more than he thought. This means he must take a trip that he loathes, to Whoville for groceries. After knocking over a snowman, taking an old woman’s cane, and a dramatic chase from carolers, he finally makes it to the store. Things don’t get much better on the trip home as we meet the Grinch’s very enthusiastic neighbor. In this scene we get a small hint at how the Grinch becoming overwhelmed easily might have a deeper meaning behind it.


One addition to the storyline that I truly love is a deeper dive into little Cindy Lou Who and her family. We see how Donna Who is a single working mother, who relies on her daughter to help keep her brothers and the house from going into chaos. Cindy sees how hard her mom works and just wants to help. So what does Cindy do? What any child would do: ask Santa to send someone to give her mom some help. Sadly the letter never makes it to the North Pole! Cindy must come up with a backup plan.


As we know, Whoville at Christmas time is festive to say the least, they have decided to have the biggest Christmas tree ever! The Grinch decides he’s had enough and builds a giant catapult to destroy the tree. Well, things never go to plan and Grinch ends up being flung into the tree just as it lights up. This is where this version of the story shows in detail why the Grinch is the way he is. When the lights glow and the crowds buzz around him we see the Grinch flinch and try to escape the noise. He has a flashback to being alone and isolated at the orphanage as a child. I applaud the filmmakers for bringing in trauma and PTSD into the storyline, as it effects so many children and adults alike. After this experience the Grinch decides that he must stop Christmas from coming.

While the Grinch is on his mission Cindy Lou has her own! Since her letter never made it to Santa her and her friends must find a way to ask Santa directly. While meeting in their elaborate club house they decide to set a trap for Mr. Claus. When he is trapped, Cindy will ask Santa face to face to help her hard working mom. This adorable group of kids will have viewers laughing as they practice their plan for Christmas Eve night.


With his decision made to stop Christmas, the first thing on the Grinch’s list is to find some reindeer for his sleigh. After being foiled by a small screaming goat. Yes, you read that correctly. The only reindeer left for him is a rather rotund but lovable Fred; he will have to do. Sleigh built and ready to go, it’s time to add some inventions to help to stealing move along faster. This version really focuses on how smart the Grinch is to invent all this amazing contraptions and always included Max.

Everything is ready to go for the big night, but while practicing the sleigh ride, they find Fred’s family. The Grinch sees this family and cannot break them up and tells Fred to go with his wife and child. With this change in plan handled, Grinch and Max are all set to steal Christmas. The montage of the duo taking every present, decoration, and treat is truly a feast for the eyes. The colors in this movie are absolutely gorgeous and bright and will definitely put you in the Christmas mood.


As the Grinch approaches the last house, he finds himself caught in Cindy Lou’s trap! After being released, Grinch tries to shoo her to bed so he can finish stealing their tree. Soon, he gets a shock when Cindy says she doesn’t want presents, she just wants him to help her mom. This really affects the Grinch and you can see as his mind begins to change. Max notices the change in mood as they head towards the mountain to dump everything Christmas off the cliff.

Nearing the end of the movie, everyone wakes to find all their Christmas gone, Cindy blames her trap for making Santa angry. Her mother soon sets her straight that they have everything they need right here. Joining hands everyone in town begins to sing and the Grinch can hear them. Remembering what Cindy said, he closes his eyes and truly tries to listen and feel the true spirit of the season. As the whos sing “Come Home” the Grinch’s small heart grows three sizes and he finds himself feeling! This joy is cut short as the sleigh begins to fall off the cliff! The Grinch and Max try to save it but find themselves in peril when suddenly Fred and his family show up and save the day.


Grinch returns everything to the whos and tells why he truly hated Christmas. He always thought it was the glitz he despised, when truly it was being alone he hated. As our story comes to a close we see Cindy inviting the Grinch to Christmas dinner. Being surrounded by new friends, the Grinch has finally found what he always truly wanted: a family.


This version of the classic story adds so much to the legacy of this character we love. Creating a deeper connection to the mental health aspect that so many struggle with this time of year really surprised and touched me. I highly recommend adding The Grinch (2018) to your must watch list. It has hilarious moments the kids will love while balancing it with deeper moments adults will appreciate. Remember to follow Nerds & Beyond for more Christmas recommendations and fandom news!

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I am a Kindergarten paraprofessional & I love movies, shows, & books. I'm in many many fandoms & will gladly fangirl with you.
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