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As I Lay Dying 2013

R CC

Based on the acclaimed American novel by William Faulkner, AS I LAY DYING follows a family through their turmoil-filled journey to bring their mother to her grave-site.

Starring:
James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson
Runtime:
1 hour, 49 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director James Franco
Starring James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson
Supporting actors Jim Parrack, Ahna O'Reilly, Logan Marshall-Green, Brady Permenter, Danny McBride, Beth Grant, Brian Lally, Jennifer Kristen Howell, Natalie Minton, Anna Kooris, Steve Nabors, John Still, Susan McMillin, Ken Hudson, Jessica Lemon Wilkinson, Ash Taylor, Jim Ritchie, John Maxwell
Studio Millennium Entertainment
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
James Franco has made a valiant attempt at clarifying an opaque novel. However, there is a reason this story has not been adapted to film in the past: Faulkner's South belongs in print.

The movie tries a little too hard, over-utilizing split screen shots to convey the novel's multiple narrator roles. It made me feel like I was watching an olde-tymey version of 24. The extreme close-up monologues were intense and haunting, staying true to the Faulkner's voice, if not adding clarity to the storyline. The film is beautifully shot and well-acted, but felt as much like homework as my initial high school reading of this book (I enjoyed the re-read much more when I was all growsed up).

Overall, "As I Lay Dying" is a solid (if slightly off-the-mark) homage to a great literary work.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm not going to waste everyone's time debating whether or not this film should have been made. It's been made.

First of all, this was so much better than I expected. On paper, some of the casting decisions look atrocious, but no one turns in a bad performance. Franco, as Darl, is (unsurprisingly) unable to explore Darl's mind the way Faulkner did in the original novel, and much of the "who" and the "why" of the character is left for the viewer to interpret. Of course, the novel itself relied heavily on the interpretation of the reader, so I'm not going to be too hard on Franco for that. As for the actors that looked terrible on paper...well, for me, they were Danny McBride as Vernon Tull and Logan Marshall-Green as Jewel. The latter, I have to say, BLEW ME AWAY. I can honestly say he stole the show for me. In the novel, my favorite character was always Darl, but Marshall-Green's performance had me focusing more on Jewel throughout the course of the film. Interestingly, Franco frames Jewel like a saint in some of the film's more beautiful camerawork, leading me to wonder whether the director saw Jewel as more of a protagonist than I did. Now, to McBride. What, you say? Danny McBride in a role like this? Favoritism on Franco's part, perhaps? These were the things I thought before seeing the film. Fortunately, it doesn't matter either way, because Vernon Tull's character is significantly downplayed in the film, and his wife Cora is cut out almost entirely. Still, McBride doesn't do anything he shouldn't, and while I still can't say I understand the casting, there isn't really enough for his character to do for me to judge his performance.
Also, Tim Blake Nelson. If you only see this film for one reason, let it be Tim Blake Nelson.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
in my opinion, this was a surprisingly excellent adaptation of the novel.

franco delivers the worst acting performance of the cast, but it certainly isn't a bad performance and the rest of the cast are excellent in their roles. the film uses some art house devices to capture the unique nature of the novel, which may be off-putting to some, but franco's directorial methods are not overly heavy-handed or obtuse.

truthfully, if you have not read as i lay dying (or have an interest in southern gothic/lit fiction) than this film is probably not for you. if you are "in" to this kind of literature and are intrigued by an art house interpretation of one of the greatest english language novels, then it is definitely worth the price of the rental.
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Format: DVD
Let me preface this review by stating that I have never read Faulkner's novel. I also am not the biggest James Franco fan. However, I do love classic novels and 127 Hours is a favorite of mine so it wasn't a stretch for me to give up two hours of my time to give the movie a chance. I imagine this movie will only attract fans who for the most part know what they are getting themselves into so keeping that in mind, this movie is not for everyone. If you are sitting around on a Saturday night and your wife says, "Ooh this looks interesting. I love James Franco," you are better off passing. If however you are of the "indie" film ilk and/or an avid reader of famous novels you should consider lending this movie your time. Franco does well as director of the film and the acting is top notch. The plot of the movie is just short of tragic and certainly not uplifting so don't expect any sunshine. All of Faulkner's characters are flawed and everyone in the film loses more than just their mother "Addie." The movie begins with the matriarch of the family passing and continues with the family embarking on an oddesy to bury her. The movie can be a little slow and overly artistic, but it is not enough to condemn Franco's direction. My only complaint is that Franco employs too many split-screen shots ala Danny Boyle (the director of 127 hours). All in all I enjoyed the film enough to recommend it to anyone willing to give it a shot.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
James Franco's As I Lay Dying inevitably differs from Faulkner's. In the novel, the Bundren home and farm lie on a hill, hard to reach, where Doc Peabody has to be hauled up by a rope. Cash limps from an earlier fall, but his leg at the end is not amputated. Jewel is a whole head taller than the others.

An important section in the novel, Darl being transported to Jackson by train, is left out of the film. Except for Anse's and perhaps Jewel's, the faces in the movie belong too much to our time and not the `twenties in Mississippi. Some of the clothing is too contemporary as well. In the film, Dewey Dell is too much a girl of our own day, more a woman, and much too beautiful. The landscape is too unvaried; the novel moves from Mississippi hill country toward (without actually entering into) the delta.

Such variations could be expanded. But they do not matter. If you want to read Faulkner, read him. Franco's movie is not a substitute for that nor does it mean to be. It is a work of translation. I think one has to see the film in and for itself, though I do not know how someone who has not read the novel might respond to it. In a sense, it is a work of the grandest plagiarism, since so much of the language is Faulkner's, shifted about, cut hugely, altered, and, at times, even changed, beginning as the novelist's language and then becoming Franco's. Toward the end of the movie, Darl speaks words that are found in the novel in Addie's monologue. But the film requires its own place and dress and faces. What I have just noted, and the differences could proliferate, does not matter because the movie is a different sort of experience, bound to a different sort of watchfulness.
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