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NOTE: For the original version from the book and TV special, click here. For the 2000 version, click here.

Today we will do mean things, and we will do them in style!
~ The Grinch to Max.
For 53 years, Christmas has brought me nothing but misery. I know just what to do. I become Santa Clause to steal their Christmas. If he could deliver it one night, then I can steal it.
~ The Grinch
Hello everybody. Hmm. It was me. I stole your Christmas. I stole it because I thought it would fix something from the past. But it didn't. I'm sorry. (Then went to Cindy Lou) I'm so very sorry for everything.
~ The Grinch apologizing for stealing Whoville's Christmas without any compassion before returning to his cave with sadness and shame.
What? Me? But I took your gifts. (Cindy: Yeah, I know.) And your trees. (Cindy: Yup.) I stole your whole Christmas. (Cindy: I know you did. But we're inviting you anyway.) But why? (Cindy: Because... you've been alone long enough.)
~ The Grinch when Cindy invites him to Christmas dinner despite all the despicable things he did.

The Grinch is the main protagonist of Illumination's 9th animated feature film The Grinch, which is based on the 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. He's a grouchy green outcast who seeks to steal and destroy Christmas for all the pain and misery it has caused him.

He was voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, who also portrayed Smaug and Sauron in The Hobbit trilogy, Dormammu in Doctor Strange, William Ford in 12 Years a Slave, Shere Khan in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle and Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Biography

The Past

When he was a kid, The Grinch spent most of his childhood life at a orphanage in Whoville with no one to celebrate Christmas with while the Whoville citizens are celebrating Christmas without him and he wasn't adopted either. It was making him so sad and decided to leave since it was so much pain for him.

Like in the book and his live-action counterpart, he lived at Mt. Crumpit, questioning the meaning of Christmas for 53 years later.

The Present

In the town of Whoville, human-like creatures called Whos are filled with excitement about celebrating Christmas. The only one who is not all excited is a cantankerous green creature called The Grinch, who has a heart "two sizes too small" and lives in a cave on the top of Mount Crumpit just north of Whoville.

The Grinch's only friend is his loyal pet dog Max and they both only visit Whoville when the Grinch needs to buy food. Meanwhile, 5-year-old Cindy Lou Who notices that her mother Donna is overworked trying to take care of herself and her twin infant brothers, Buster and Bean.

She decides to send a letter to Santa Claus to help her mother at first, but after encountering the Grinch who sarcastically says that she'll have to talk to Santa face-to-face about it, she eventually decides to try and trap Santa with the help of her friends and ask him for his help since she thinks that it's too important.

After the Grinch is annoyed that the Whos brought a gigantic Christmas tree to town, he attempts to destroy the tree by catapulting a giant snowball at it, but it backfires and he ends up catapulted himself and soon, all the festivities take him back to his sad childhood where he's all alone in an orphanage while all of the other Whos were taken by families.

After returning to his cave, the Grinch soon decides that he'll steal Christmas from Whoville to assuage his distress. He acquires a fat reindeer whom he calls Fred to help him pull a sleigh that he stole from the most happiest Who in Whoville, Bricklebaum.

After a test run, the Grinch sees that Fred has a wife and child, so with a heavy heart, he lets Fred go back to them. On Christmas Eve, after making a Santa Claus disguise and dozens of gadgets to help him with his theft, the Grinch and Max, who pulls the sleigh in Fred's place, go down to Whoville and begin stealing the decorations and presents.

He soon encounters Cindy after falling into her trap. Her request is to help lighten her mother's workload and her kind advice about listening to the Whos' singing to alleviate his sadness, touches the Grinch's bitter heart. Nevertheless, the Grinch carries on with his mission.

After stealing every Christmas present and decoration, the Grinch and Max decide to head back to Mount Crumpit to dispose of them. The Whos wake up and are shocked to see that the presents and decorations are gone.

At first, Cindy Lou realizes that it was her fault, because she caught Santa and thinks that she made him mad by stealing their Christmas, but Donna tells her that Christmas is more than just presents and that Cindy Lou's the best thing that ever happened to her. Then, the Whos join together by singing Welcome Christmas.

Then, the Grinch and Max heard the singing before he can dump the sleigh which the Grinch's puzzled to see that they're celebrating Christmas without presents, despite his theft.

After remembering Cindy's advice and listening to their song, his small heart triples in size, causing him to double over into a breathless joy and wonder. Then, the sleigh falls off Mount Crumpit and the Grinch tries to save it.

In the nick of time, Fred and his family come to his aid. After securing the sleigh, the Grinch and Max go to Whoville to return the stolen items and he admits his theft to the Whos and apologizes before going back to his cave.

Feeling sorry for the Grinch, Cindy Lou comes to his house and invites him to celebrate Christmas at her house since she forgave him and told him that no one should be alone on Christmas which it surprised the Grinch.

Then, The Grinch awkwardly attends since he haven't been invited before and Cindy Lou was very happy that he came and want him to feel welcome. When seated down for dinner, The Grinch confesses that it wasn't really Christmas he disliked, but being lonely and his bitterness over being neglected.

He also thank Cindy Lou for changing his life, because of her kindness and her mother hug Cindy Lou by saying that's my girl.

Then, Cindy Lou smiles and wishes the Grinch a merry Christmas which the Grinch smiles and wishes her a merry Christmas too. Before carving the roast beast, the Grinch offers a toast, "To kindness and love, the things we need most."

Personality

The Grinch is grouchy and cruel, and likes to bully and antagonize the citizens of Whoville whenever he can. He takes some sadistic pride in his work, and sees an artistry and style to being generally mean and nasty. However, deep down he has a soft spot, as he shows to his dog Max and a select few individuals that manage to appeal to it under his tough exterior.

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Trivia

  • The Grinch is Illumination's second protagonist to be a villain after Felonious Gru from the Despicable Me franchise.
  • Compared to the other versions of the Grinch, this Grinch is significantly less evil and scheming than previous versions, as he is portrayed more as a grouchy cynic who prefers to mind his own business than actively hurt other people, will still be social when he needs to be, treats his dog well, and only decides to steal Christmas to prove a point rather than out of pure hatred for the Whos and the holiday.
  • This version of the Grinch seems to dye the hairs to hide the gray hairs at its age, although it is claimed the opposite.
  • His voice actor, Benedict Cumberbatch stated that he believes his version of the Grinch to be in his fifties.
  • The producers wanted Cumberbatch to use his natural accent for the Grinch, but he instead decided that since the rest of the cast is American, then he should voice the Grinch with an American accent.

See also

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Horton Hears a Who: Sour Kangaroo | Vlad Vladikoff | The Wickersham Brothers
The Cat in the Hat: Larry Quinn
How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Grinch (2000 & 2018) | Mayor Augustus Maywho
Green Eggs and Ham: Hervnick Z. Snerz | Goat
The Lorax: Aloysius O'Hare | The Once-Ler | Morty and McGurk | The Once-ler's Family (The Once-ler's Mother | Brett and Chet | Aunt Grizelda | Uncle Ubb)
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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T: Dr. Terwilliker