The Grinch

Out Now On-Demand

Oh, joy.

Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange) voices the Christmas-loathing Grinch in this family-friendly animated retelling from Illumination (Despicable Me).

The Grinch lives a solitary life inside a cave on Mt. Crumpet with only his loyal dog, Max, for company. With a cave rigged with inventions and contraptions for his day-to-day needs, the Grinch only sees his neighbours in Who-ville when he runs out of food. Each year at Christmas they disrupt his tranquil solitude with their increasingly bigger, brighter and louder celebrations. When the Whos declare they are going to make Christmas three times bigger this year, the Grinch realises there is only one way for him to gain some peace and quiet: he must steal Christmas.


Directed by

Written by

  • Michael LeSieur
  • (based on the book 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!' by Dr. Seuss)

Animated, Comedy, Kids & Family, Fantasy


Rating: G


Dr. Seuss’s Christmas classic gets the CGI treatment from Illumination, the studio behind Despicable Me and its cranky villain Gru, who learns to be a nice guy, much like Charles Dickens’ Scrooge. It’s a tried and trusted festive formula but, as with many beloved children’s picture books, the source material’s too short to make a big movie from, and too well-known to ignore. The good news is, as with The Lorax, the producers stick to Seuss’ style, expanding on his surreal illustrations, wholesome morals and rhyming lines.

Co-directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier ensure a bright palette, with enough silliness to keep little ones enthralled and adults mildly amused. Benedict Cumberbatch voices the grumpy Grinch, who gets a brief orphan’s backstory to explain his festive loathing, only to have his bad ways turned around by the happy holiday spirit of a child and her fellow Whoville residents, from the relentlessly cheery Kenan Thompson, to Angela Lansbury as the town’s Mayor.

In the tale of a grump learning to be glad, it’s the Grinch’s non-speaking canine sidekick Max who steals the show. Little ones will love it, but kids over eight and accompanying adults may be less forgiving of a short story stretched to snapping point for the big screen. But hey, it’s got a warm, fuzzy, festive, family-friendly heart. Cumberbatch has fun, Pharrell Williams is a delightful narrator, and the obligatory songs, Danny Elfman score, plus some amped-up set-pieces, ensure 90 Christmassy minutes whizz by pleasantly, if instantly forgettably.

Empire (UK)


Despite its story-telling ambition being two sizes too small (much like its hairy protagonist's heart), The Grinch is impossibly cute, visually rich and boasts enough festive fun to satisfy young viewers.

Hollywood Reporter


Dr. Seuss' The Grinch is a vibrant, amusing CG animated feature that gives the big mean, green guy a kinder, gentler makeover.

Los Angeles Times


"The Grinch" is beautiful to look at, and diverting enough. The material written to fill out the story is entertaining, but it doesn't resonate. You can't top what Seuss wrote.

New York Times


While ostensibly explaining how the Grinch got so Grinch-like, it also inclines the viewer to raise other questions. How did he score that mountaintop mansion? What's with the elaborately twisted pipe organ?

The Guardian


Takes the book's message that you can't buy Christmas and tops it up with noisy, wacky capering, squishing and flattening Seuss's universe into yet another bland frenetic kids' movie.

Variety (USA)


Cumberbatch, in his droll and tasteful way, respects the grinchiness of the Grinch: that he's a force of mischievous mayhem who represents something in all of us - the potential to be bad when unhappiness takes over.

TimeOut (New York)


The film is mainly a series of slapstick episodes, not always neatly hung together, and with barely any memorable side characters. Even the Grinch himself fails to make a massive impact at times. (James Croot)


For all its faults, there is a lot to like about The Grinch as diverting holiday season entertainment though.