Director: James Franco
Runtime: 105 minutes
Starring: James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson, Jim Parrack, Ahna O’Reilly, Lofan Marshall-Green, Brady Permenter, Danny McBride, Beth Grant
Description: Based on the 1930 classic by Faulkner, it is the story of the death of Addie Bundren (Beth Grant) and her family's quest to honor her wish to be buried in the nearby town of Jefferson.
Review: James Franco is a multi-talent. Sometimes he chooses blockbusters like “Spider-Man”, he starred in Oscar winning flicks “Milk” and “127 Hours” and he had a guest role on the soap opera “General Hospital”. Franco isn’t only an actor, but also a very talented director, writer and producer. For “As I Lay Dying” he directed, but also helped writing the scenario and he portrays one of the lead characters.
“As I Lay Dying” is an adaptation of the book by William Faulkner. It’s the story of Addie Bundren, who dies, and is transported by her family to give her the final resting place she was promised. During that journey the story is told from different perspectives of the family members.
Franco never chooses the easy way out, because “As I Lay Dying” isn’t an easy story to translate to film. This movie isn’t a crowd-pleaser. Fans of the book might like it, but I think the average viewer could be bothered by the split screen that Franco uses, to show us the different perspectives. It could be seen as a smart way to tell the story, but also confusing to follow the story. And the handheld camera could also throw you off, but it does give it a more realistic look.
The acting isn’t always very strong. Franco does a good and solid job and Beth Grant, with only a minor role, shows us some great acting as well. The other performances aren’t that memorable.
Like said before, “As I Lay Dying” isn’t an easy book. Sometimes it’s hard how to interpret some scenes. Sometimes you don’t know if it’s meant to be funny or if it’s just sad. Franco stayed true to the novel, but unfortunately this movie is (like the book) for a specific audience.
Rating: 2,5/ 5