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Today we will do mean things, and we will do them in style!
~ The Grinch talking to his dog Max about his plans
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?
It's go time!
~ 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 got 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

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 Stephen Strange and Classified from Penguins of Madagascar: The Movie.


Just like his previous version, he's mean, grumpy and really hate Christmas for 53 years.

Like the live action version (except getting bullied), he was a orphan and he was really sad that he have no one to celebrate Christmas with since he wasn't adopted and didn't fit in with the people of Whoville. So he left Whoville and live at Mt. Crumpet for 53 years.

Even though he's being mean to the people of Whoville, he still have some goodness to his dog Max unlike his previous version. While he's still hating Christmas, he somehow secretly wish to fit in with the people of Whoville after remembering his tragic childhood past. But he keep denying it since he doesn't know the true meaning of Christmas and his heart was still 2 small.

Since we know his story, he dress up as Santa, steal Christmas, bump into Cindy after knowing her wish and finally steal Christmas by dumping it at the top of Mt. Crumpet which he later realized what he have done after hearing them singing without presents and lights.

After his heart grow, he save the sleigh and take them back to Whoville by apologizing to the people of Whoville for his selfishness and realize the true meaning of Christmas. He told Cindy that he was sorry that he steal Christmas and left sadly.

After returning the gift, the Grinch head home sadly and later on, he gave Max a gift for being a good helper and dog which Max love his gift. Then, The Grinch heard the doorbell rang and it was Cindy.

Then, Cindy also invited him and Max to join Christmas dinner with her and her family which it make the Grinch surprise that he wasn't invited before and ask her why she did that after what he done.

Cindy told him that since he apologized, he shouldn't be alone on Christmas and he have been alone for too long.

So he did after touched by Cindy's kindness and he finally fit in with the people of Whoville along his dog, Max.

Before the movie close, he made his heartwarming speech that he realize that Christmas doesn't make him hate it, but being alone was. Also, he thanks Cindy for making him realize that he wasn't alone anymore and was very happy that she did.

His Story

The Past

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

So, just like the live action movie except being bullied, he left Whoville and live at Mt. Crumpet for 53 years later ever since.

The Present

In the town of Whoville, human-like creatures called Whos are filled with excitement about celebrating Christmas.

The only one who isn't all excited is a cantankerous green creature called The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), 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 (Cameron Seely) notices that her mother Donna (Rashida Jones) is overworked trying to take care of herself and her twin infant brothers, Buster and Bean.

She at first 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 eventually decides to try and trap Santa with the help of her friends and ask him for his help since she thinks 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 is 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 will 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 (Kenan Thompson).

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 and her request to help lighten her mother's workload soon touches the Grinch's bitter heart.

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.

Cindy at first believes she's to blame because she caught Santa, but Donna tells her that Christmas is more than just about presents and that Cindy's the best thing that ever happened to her since she helps her mother out with her workload and the Whos join in singing.

The Grinch and Max soon hear the singing and the Grinch is puzzled to see that they are celebrating Christmas despite his theft, but he soon listens to their singing and his small heart triples in size.

The sleigh almost falls off Mount Crumpit and the Grinch tries to save it and soon, 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 comes to invite him to dinner at her house and he awkwardly attends and when seated down for dinner, he admits that it wasn't really Christmas he disliked, but being lonely and carves a roast beast as he celebrates Christmas with the Whos and starts a new life with them, especially with Cindy.


  • It is possible that the Grinch's backstory will differ 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.
  • 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.
  • This Grinch is different than his 1966 and 2000 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 establish/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
    • 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 is by no means a nicer guy, this version of the Grinch is shown to be marginally kinder to Max than the Chuck Jones or the Ron Howard version at one point playing with Max with a small, affectionate smile on his face.
    • Overall, the Grinch is much less antisocial than his previous incarnations and it's implied his motive for stealing Christmas is partially more of a Freudian Excuse than out of sheer malice.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Similar to his previous incarnations, this Grinch has a massive intellect when it comes to concocting schemes and creating technological marvels....all for the purpose of stealing gifts.
  • Given his larger presence in Whoville compared to previous incarnations, the Grinch has taken on this sort of persona, emphasized by how he revels in doing his misdeeds in style.
  • Even though every single person in existence is aware of how it ends, The Grinch is, per the norm, the Big Bad of his own story.
  • The Grinch is still a mean one, but significantly less of a mean one than previous versions, as he is portrayed 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 who decides to steal Christmas to prove a point rather than out of pure hatred for the Whos and the holiday.
  • Big Eater: The reason why the Grinch has to go down to Whoville during Christmas season. He initially had stockpiles of food to last him till the start of January but due to his excessive "emotional" eating, he was reduced to a mere bean on a plate by just five days shy of Christmas itself.
  • But Not Too Evil: This version of the Grinch is more of a cynical grouch who gets pushed into being villainous by his Freudian Excuse, as opposed to actively malicious, hateful jerk like previous versions.
  • 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, 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.
  • The Grinch cannot believe that the Whos are kind, generous people and Christmas isn't a storm of consumerism because when he was a little orphan, no one shared any love or warmth with him.
  • Aside from treating Max fairly well, the Grinch decides to let reindeer Fred 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.
  • 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.
  • First Grinch movie which he isn't mean to or mistreats his dog, Max in any way.


           Illumination Logo.png Heroes

Despicable Me/Minions
Felonius Gru | Minions | Dr. Nefario | Marlena Gru | Margo Gru | Agnes Gru | Edith Gru | Lucy Wilde | Silas Ramsbottom | Anti-Villain League | Kevin, Stuart & Bob | Poochy | 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 | Grammy Norma | Cy the O'Hare Delivery Guy

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

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

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

See Also
Despicable Me Heroes | Sing Heroes | The Secret Life of Pets Heroes