Zac’s Flick Pick: ‘As I Lay Dying’


Image Courtesy of Lee Caplin/Picture Entertainment

Zac Younkins

Fans of original novels aren’t usually overly receptive to their film adaptations. As both a fan and an aspiring filmmaker, I caution you to not go into these movie counterparts thinking of all the details left out from the book, but instead about how well the film visually recreates the tone and plot of your favorite novel.

James Franco’s adaptation of the William Faulkner classic, As I Lay Dying is immaculate in that sense. Franco brings the iconic stream-of-consciousness narration to life with split-screen action, which also shows the rapid transitions between narrators. Franco, Tim Blake Nelson and Jim Parrack deliver beautifully understated and thoughtful performances as said narrators, and Franco proves himself as a director by adapting the inadaptable.

The main storyline details each family member’s varying perspective on their mother’s death and its psychological effects. It’s hailed for its examination of the psyche as well as its unique narrative style. It was aptly considered impossible to film because of this.

Despite the lack of critical coverage or wide release, the film has made its way to Netflix, and will take you less time to stream than Faulkner spent writing the book. He wrote only one draft that took him from midnight to 4:00 a.m.

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