Jonathan Franzen, Freedom.
Throughout this book I find myself stopping and going “oh” in that way that one does when what previously seemed like a deeply personal sentiment turns out to be universal enough to be expressed by Patty Berglund.
The Road The Movie
I skipped it in the theater because I loved the book so much that I was confident the movie would disappoint in comparison, and I was right, but not as right as I thought I might be. The movie spends way too much time on the dead wife and draws out the end for too long, plus it milks tears in places where the book was more subtle and quietly beautiful or terrifying. That said, for a Hollywood movie it is indeed very bleak, scary, sad, and slow and for that I commend the filmmakers.
Mostly though, there is Viggo’s face. Holy hell. This is an (/the only) area in which the movie really adds a layer of depth rather than removing layers, because oh lord can he act with his eyes and his skin and his everything. I probably wouldn’t even be bothering to say anything about the film without Viggo specifically in that role. It commanded empathy for a very quiet, repressed, tortured man, reminding me a little of Heath Ledger’s work in Brokeback Mountain (which might be the best performance of the last decade IMO). No one else could have done it better, or done it at all. Hooray for Viggo.
But. I cried a lot but not for the same reasons I cried while reading the book. For the most part, despite Vigs, I wasn’t deeply moved by the film. I was shallowly moved, as in: ‘oh no child in danger ahh child seeing death ahh look away child child child.’ The book made me examine all kinds of things: love, death, environmental destruction, parenting, morality, religon. The movie primarily made me examine my maternal instinct.
If you saw the movie but didn’t read the novel, I highly recommend the book. It will stick with you for the rest of your life — I can almost promise that and I don’t even know you.
(should have posted this yesterday but I was busy watching baseball)