Hero Overview
Today we will do mean things, and we will do them in style!
~ The Grinch talking to his dog Max about his plans.

The Grinch is the main protagonist of the 2018 Illumination animated film, Dr. Seuss' The Grinch, based on the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss.

He's a grumpy outcast that seeks to steal and destroy Christmas for all the misery it has caused him.

He's voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch as an adult who also plays Doctor Strange and Classified from Penguins of Madagascar.


Like his previous versions, The Grinch started out as a grumpy, solitary, and selfish creature who likes to bully and antagonize the citizens of Whoville whenever he can. He takes some sadistic pride in his work, 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 rough exterior.

After learning the true meaning of Christmas, he redeemed himself and realize that he wasn't alone anymore, because of Cindy Lou's kindness.


The Past

When he was a kid, The Grinch spent most of his childhood life in a Whoville orphanage with no one to celebrate Christmas with while the Whoville 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.

So, 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, the humanoids called Whos are filled with excitement about celebrating Christmas. The only one who isn't amused is a cantankerous, green furred creature called The Grinch who has a heart "two sizes too small" and lives as a hermit in a cave on the top of Mount Crumpit just north of Whoville.

The Grinch has a pet dog named Max and they both only visit Whoville when the Grinch needs to buy food and do bad things.

Meanwhile, a 6-year-old girl name Cindy Lou Who notices that her mother Donna Lou Who is overworked trying to take care of herself and her baby twin brothers, Buster and Bean.

At first, she decides to send a letter to Santa Claus to help her mother, but after encountering the Grinch who sarcastically says that she'll have to talk to Santa face-to-face about it, she decides to go to the North Pole to talk to Santa, but when Donna tells her that it would take a month to get there and back home, her final decision is to try and trap Santa with the help of her friends.

With Christmas approaching, all the Whoville festivities give the Grinch a flashback, recalling his disjointing childhood spent mostly alone and unwanted in an orphanage.

The Grinch soon decides that he'll steal Christmas from Whoville to assuage his distress and acquires a fat reindeer whom he calls Fred to help him pull a sleigh that he stole from his neighbor, Mr. Bricklebaum. After a test run, the Grinch discovers that Fred has a wife and child. With a heavy heart, he lets Fred go home with them.

On Christmas Eve, after making a Santa Claus disguise and dozens of gadgets to help him with his plan, the Grinch and Max, who pulls the sleigh in Fred's place, go down to Whoville to steal 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 presents and decorations, the Grinch and Max 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 realize 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 is 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 back to Whoville to return the stolen items and admits his crimes to the Whos and apologizes before returning to his cave.

Feeling sorry for the Grinch, Cindy Lou comes to his house and invite 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 wish the Grinch a merry Christmas which the Grinch smiles and wish her a merry Christmas too. Before carving the roast beast, the Grinch offers a toast, "To kindness and love, the things we need most."


For fifty-three 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. What does Santa have that I don't?
~ The Grinch.
It's go time!
~ The Grinch getting prepared to steal Christmas and working out with his abs.
I know just what to do: I'm gonna to steal their Christmas.
~ The Grinch gets a wonderful, awful idea.
You know what? If you want to apologize for something, apology for that! My eyes are burning!
~ The Grinch being mean to his neighbor Bricklebaum.
Grinch: Your daughter's kindness changed my life. Donna Who: That's my little girl.
~ The Grinch told Donna that Cindy was the one who change his life
Grinch: What's this? Who Lady: Excuse me! Are you getting that? I need it for my Christmas stuffing. Grinch: Mmm, no. Who Lady: Well, that's not very nice. [Grinch drops it on the floor and it shatters, she stamps her foot] Who Lady: Oh sugar plums.
~ The Grinch being mean to The Who lady
Narrator: And the Grinch raised his glass, and led the Whos in a toast. Grinch: To kindness and love, the things we need most!
~ The Grinch finally fit in with The Who
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] I'm so very sorry for everything
~ The Grinch apologized to the people of Whoville for stealing Christmas before heading back to his cave sadly
Grinch: Beautiful, isn't it, Max? This, my little friend, is the Rein-horn. It perfectly recreates the mating call of the reindeer. Behold. [blows it, but instead attracts a goat] Grinch: Oh, hey there. Sorry, little goat. I was calling for a rein- [the goat suddenly screams at him and Max] Grinch: What was that? Scram! Skedaddle! Strange goat. [he and Max run off]
~ The Grinch trying to call the Reindeer, but fails
Grinch: [to Fred and Max, showing them a wrapped present] The present! THIS is our enemy! You WILL want to unwrap it. [mesmerized] Grinch: And... play with it [Fred and Max exchange confused looks. The Grinch starts to pull the present's ribbon, but regains his senses] Grinch: But you must NOT! [tosses the present aside] Grinch: If you can get past the present, the only obstacle left is... [holds out a Santa-shaped sugar cookie] Grinch: THE COOKIE. Look at it in all its red, sugary splendor. [Fred tries to grab the cookie with his mouth, but the Grinch yanks it away] Grinch: No, no, no! Look at yourselves! Discipline! We must- [Fred snatches the cookie from the Grinch's hand and eats it. The Grinch sighs in disgust] Grinch: Resist.
~ The Grinch trying to teach himself and his pets about avoiding the presents and cookies
Cindy-Lou Who: [to the Grinch, after accidentally running over him with her inner tube] I'm sorry for bumping into you but this is really important. Have you seen my letter? Grinch: [growls in frustration] And that, right there, Max, is the true nature of the Who child. Just right to, "Me, me, me. My letter. Me, me, me." Cindy-Lou Who: No! You don't understand. This isn't just A letter. This is THE letter. Grinch: [turns to face her] Oh, really? Let me guess. Small child, December 20th, rapidly searching for a 'really important' lost letter. Might it be your list of demands to Santa? Cindy-Lou Who: They're not demands! It's more like a wish. And what I'm wishing for is really, really important. Grinch: Well then, why send a letter? I mean, if it's really that important, you should just ask him face-to-face. [mockingly] Grinch: Oh, but that's right! No one's ever seen him! My bad [turns to leave; coldly] Grinch: C'mon, Max. Let's get out of here. Cindy-Lou Who: [waves to Max] Bye, doggy.
~ The Grinch being rude to Cindy after getting running over by her and mocking her about her important wish by seeing Santa in person
Grinch: Today was - grr-eat! We did mean things, *and* we did them in style.Grinch: [Max is giving him puppy eyes, hoping to gain sympathy] Max, you know the rules. You sleep in your bed and I sleep in-[notices Fred is also giving him puppy eyes] Grinch: Oh, no, no! Not you, too! I don't believe this. Max, did you teach him puppy eyes?
~ Grinch was getting tricked with Puppy Eyes by Max and Fred


  • The Grinch's backstory differs from this film's live-action counterpart, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), in which the Grinch was publicly humiliated in elementary school as a child due to having to shave at his age. This is mostly due to the Whos in general being depicted as more noble and heroic (and thus, closer to how they were depicted in the original book), as opposed to the 2000 movie, that depicted them as more monstrous and villainous.
  • The Grinch is Illumination’s second protagonist to be a villain also, first being Felonious Gru.
  • In the original book as well as the first film adaption, The Grinch could not find a Reindeer to help him with his heist, so he used Max instead. But in this adaption he does successfully find a Reindeer and lets it stay at his house with Max. The Grinch is also joined in his schemes by a reindeer named Fred.
  • For his portrayal as the Grinch, this marks the first time outside the Doctor Strange franchise where Benedict Cumberbatch uses an American accent instead of his regular speaking British accent.
  • The studio originally wanted Benedict Cumberbatch to voice the Grinch using his natural voice, but Benedict felt that, since the rest of the cast is American, the Grinch himself should have an American accent.
  • The Grinch's epiphany to steal Christmas happens on December 21 rather than Christmas Eve. This gives the Grinch more time to develop his gadgets and formulate his plan to rob all of Whoville in one fell swoop. This extra time also allows him to find reindeer to pull his sled, eventually snagging a reindeer named Fred.
  • This Grinch is very different than his 1966 and 2000 version and have some similar from his live action version:
    • For example, the Grinch is less exaggerated-looking than previous versions with softer facial features that look more like a furry green dog-man than a creepy old goblin and normal eyes instead of his signature red and yellow pupils.
    • The previous versions imply that the Grinch lives in self-imposed exile away from the Whos. This film shows that the Grinch regularly visits Whoville to buy groceries. Presumably as a result of him coming down to their town often, the Whos don't fear him as much as the Whos in Ron Howard's film or Halloween Is Grinch Night where the Grinch's impending arrival is a big deal. This is once again a result of the Whos being portrayed more heroically since it means the Grinch genuinely feels welcome in Whoville and has no grudge towards the Whos (his grudge is the celebration of Christmas itself).
    • Considering he's more willing to come out of his cave than previous versions, it makes sense that the Whos are used to him by this point.
    • While he's not meant to a nice guy, this version of the Grinch is shown to be kinder to Max than the Chuck Jones or the Ron Howard version. While Max is rather put upon, the Grinch's love and concern for him are never in doubt and the one time he does manage to deeply hurt Max's feelings, he apologizes and tells him that he's a good dog. Again, this is due to the more noble 2018 Whos treating the 2018 Grinch more nicely which it means the 2018 Grinch isn't as embittered as the 2000s version.
    • The Grinch's motivation is closer to the original book as his grudge is with the celebration of Christmas. He has no personal grudge with the Who and recognizes that the Who are very nice people.
    • Despite the Grinch's mischievous pranks and rude behavior whenever he heads down to Whoville, the Whos bear no lasting grudge towards him. Even after the Grinch confesses to stealing all of their Christmas stuff, the Whos still welcome him to a Christmas feast which surprises the Grinch. However, it's notably more subtle than past incarnations. Instead of being lauded at the gift return, he quietly walks home alone to be invited later by Cindy Lou Who.
    • Averted, even though he's portrayed by a British actor like the Karloff Grinch, he speaks with an American-accent like the Jim Carrey version.
    • Like previous iterations, the Grinch is surprised and confused when he hears the Whos singing and celebrating Christmas despite taking nearly all of their decorations, presents and foods. He, of course, has an epiphany upon this discovery and decides to give back everything he has stolen. He's even more surprised that Cindy Lou Who invites him to Christmas dinner at her house despite the fact that he stole all of their stuff in an attempt to ruin their Christmas.
    • Similar to his previous incarnations, this Grinch has a massive intellect when it comes to concocting schemes and creating technological marvels for the purpose of stealing gifts.
    • During his trip to Whoville for groceries, the Grinch goes out of his way to do mean things to anyone he crosses by. Such as pushing a snowman's head off the body with a carrot, tasting a spicy pickle before spitting it back into the jar and then giving it to an unsuspecting shopper and putting the last chutney jar onto a high shelf in front of the customer who wants it (and then knocking it over for good measure).
    • By the end, the Grinch is able to admit to himself and the Whos that he didn't really hate Christmas itself. He just didn't like being alone.
    • The Grinch falls into Cindy Lou's trap by ignoring his own rule: avoid temptations.
    • Unlike the previous versions of the tale where the Grinch is full of joy after realizing the meaning of Christmas, the Grinch is ashamed of himself for ruining the holiday for the Whos. After he brings their stuff back to town, he just apologizes and goes home.
    • Benedict Cumberbatch voices the Grinch with an American accent and while he does a fairly good job, sometimes you can hear Cumberbatch's natural British accent showing.
    • Like his live action version, a flashback shows us the Grinch grew up in a orphanage and have no one who can love him and celebrate Christmas with.
    • Aside from treating Max fairly well, the Grinch decides to let Fred the reindeer leave to be with his mate and child, despite the fact he needs a reindeer to pull his sled. Fred later returns to save the Grinch from falling off of Mount Crumpit during the climax of the story.
    • Though the Whos do not hold any grudges against the Grinch for his scheme, they are more stunned than forgiving when the Grinch returns their things and after he apologizes, he head back to his cave. He does not feel good about returning the presents, because of the real reason why he wanted to steal them in the first place. Also, rather than a grand, town-wide feast taking place, Cindy Lou later drops by to invite him for Christmas dinner at her house which he attends with an equal mixture of graciousness and shyness especially since he does not come out of his cave that much aside from grocery shopping. Also, the Grinch was worried about how the Whos would react to him being there.
    • The only one to refer to our title character as the Grinch is the narrator. Everyone else calls him "Mr. Grinch", and Bricklebaum occasionally calls him "Grinchy". However, during his proper introduction to Cindy Lou as the end of the movie, he said that his name is just Grinch.
    • All versions of this story, the Grinch's character is similar to Ebenezer Scrooge. So, his backstory in this version as he grew up lonely in an orphanage where he never got to celebrate Christmas, just like the young Scrooge at his boarding school.
    • This version of the Grinch seems to dye the hairs to hide the gray hairs at its age, although it is claimed the opposite.
    • The Grinch seems to have some sort of anxiety/stress-based disorder: he avoids going outside and talking to people whenever he can, to the point he has to stockpile food just to avoid it, he is apparently prone to stress eating, when the carolers start singing around him, he has to cover his ears and run into the nearest quiet place (store) while breathing heavily, he has a flashback triggering anxiety attack when he accidently stumbles into the tree lighting ceremony, he hates bright lights, loud noises and crowds of people and at the end, he acts almost exactly how a person with anxiety might act when they try to come out of their shell - he hesitates before ringing the door bell, he says things like "I can't do this, they are all gonna hate me..." and when Donna opens the door, he acts very shy, awkward and has a hard time coming up with conversation topics ("I wore a tie".) In fact, Max seems to function as his service dog who helps him with everyday tasks (like showering, getting dressed and eating), he forces his owner to go outside when they are out of food and he becomes concerned when the carolers surround them.
    • Like the live-action movie, this film adds a few more key characters. In particular, the Grinch enlists an actual reindeer called Fred this time, turning them and Max into a trio.
    • The Grinch treats Max (especially compared to the Chuck Jones and Ron Howard versions) and Fred to the point of letting him return to his mate and child it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to say the Grinch has far more patience for animals than Whos. Well, except for the goat.
    • The Grinch plays in the Whoville community before deciding to steal Christmas, playing mean-spirited but ultimately harmless pranks on the Whos.
    • Since the town's Christmas tree is hundreds of feet high with proportionate sized ornaments, the Grinch doesn't even bother trying to steal it instead of the stuff he can actually fit in his sleigh.
    • Unlike the other two incarnations, the sleigh actually does fall off Mount Crumpit, being a vehicle with thousands of pounds worth of Christmas decorations and presents just leaning on the edge of a cliff and when the Grinch tries to grapple to the edge, the cliff itself falls.
    • Unlike his previous countparts, the Grinch hates Christmas, but his real problem seems to be loneliness with Christmas that reminds him of his lonely childhood more than anything. There are scenes that imply that Grinch may secretly like Christmas, even before he redeemed himself like when looking through the Christmas almanac, he admires that gingerbread house and seems to find the little gum drop family cute, but he covers it up by calling it "So, so stupidly dumb". Later when he talks about how tempting opening presents may be, he basically looks hypnotized by the wrapped present and gets very close to opening it, only to throw it away and tell Max and Fred that they shouldn't do that.
    • Also, he does take a shower, wear a scarf, live a nice cave and exercise by working out unlike his 1966 and 2000 since they both live a messy and dark cave, like to be stinky and fat except his live action counterpart does wear a brown coat with a mask and yodel costume before the Santa suit while the 1966 Grinch doesn't wear anything else than just his Santa suit.
    • And he doesn't have a love interest in his own movie unlike his live action counterpart who was in love with Martha May Whovier since childhood. It's unknown why he don't have a love interest since they tried to make it like the original 1966 classic movie too, so that's why.
  • In the trailer, the Grinch is attacked by a cat while he's stealing presents, just like how his live-action counterpart was.
  • This film marks the second time a British actor has voiced the character of the Grinch. The first was with Boris Karloff in the 1966 TV Special of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966).
  • It seems to be karmic payback for the Grinch being a curmudgeon that he suffers so much physical abuse in his daily life.
  • Unlike his 1966 and 2000 counterparts, the Grinch puts more effort into looking like Santa and insists on getting into character by eating a whole lot to appear fatter. Despite this however, his stomach is only slightly more prominent than before. The Grinch also had the insight to actually don a white beard, compared to the previous versions of the character who didn’t even bother. That said, he still does little to hide his distinguishing green fur.
  • His voice actor, Benedict Cumberbatch stated that he believes his version of the Grinch to be in his fifties.
  • Even though every single person is aware of how it ends like his previous versions, The Grinch is the Big Bad of his own story.
  • Like previous iterations, the Grinch is surprised and confused when he hears the Whos singing and celebrating Christmas despite taking nearly all of their decorations, presents and food. He has an epiphany and decides to give everything back whcih he has stolen. He's even more surprised that Cindy Lou Who invites him to Christmas dinner at her house despite the fact that he stole all of their stuff in an attempt to ruin their Christmas.
  • The Grinch cannot believe that Christmas isn't a storm of consumerism, because when he was a little orphan, no one have shared any love or warmth with him.
  • Near the end of the film, the Grinch wears a red and white tie when he's invited over to Cindy-Lou's house for Christmas dinner, a reference to The Cat in the Hat (another Dr. Seuss character) who has the same color pattern hat.
  • This is the first adaption of the Grinch who isn't mean to or mistreats his dog, Max in any way.


           Dr Seuss Logo Heroes

Horton Hears a Who
Horton the Elephant | Rudy Kangaroo

The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat (Live Action) | Conrad | Sally | The Fish | Thing One and Thing Two | Nick

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch (Live Action, CGI) | Max (CGI) | Cindy Lou Who (CGI) | Martha May Whovier | Donna Lou Who

Green Eggs and Ham
Sam-I-Am | Guy-Am-I

The Lorax
The Lorax | The Once-Ler | Ted Wiggins | Audrey | Cy the O'Hare Delivery Guy

           Illumination Logo Heroes

Despicable Me/Minions
Felonius Gru | Minions | Dr. Nefario | Marlena Gru | Margo Gru | Agnes Gru | Edith Gru | Lucy Wilde | Anti-Villain League | Kevin, Stuart & Bob | Walter Nelson | Madge Nelson | Tina Nelson | Dru Gru

E.B. | Fred O'Hare | Mr. Bunny | The Pink Berets | Phil

The Lorax
The Lorax | Ted Wiggins | The Once-Ler | Audrey | Cy the O'Hare Delivery Guy

The Secret Life of Pets
Max | Duke | Snowball | Gidget | Tiberius | Chloe | Buddy | Mel | Sweet Pea | Pops | Norman | Katie | Chuck | Liam | Daisy | Rooster | Hu

Buster Moon | Johnny | Ash | Rosita | Meena | Eddie Noodleman | Gunter | Nancy

The Grinch
The Grinch | Max | Cindy Lou Who | Fred | Donna Lou Who

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