As I Lay Dying tries to adapt the impossible, but unfortunately it is bested by Faulkner's weighty source material.
| Original Score: 5/10
Some of the filming techniques are overused and the monologues are a bit too circuitous, but As I Lay Dying has the ability to be quite striking at times and its impulsive structure can be viewed as both an asset and a defect.
| Original Score: 6/10
A qualified, perfectly respectable success
Both brilliant and maddening
| Original Score: 7.5/10
What Franco came up with... is messy, bizarre, muted, and confusing, but it's also heartfelt and personal. It takes more risks than most movies.
| Original Score: 3/5
Franco may prove that he has a fresh visual eye, but the highly emotive story is oddly uninvolving.
Comes across - whether it's Franco's intention or not - as a grossly self-indulgent project that will alienate some of his fan base.
| Original Score: 2/5
I don't pretend to have a clue how to adapt William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" for the screen, but unlike James Franco, I, at least, didn't try.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
As a whole ... "As I Lay Dying" conveys some of Faulkner's themes, and the details of the Bundren family story, with clarity and concision.
Franco doesn't answer the elemental question posed by any literary adaptation: Why does this movie exist?
It remains to be seen whether James Franco can live up to his outsized ambitions.
James Franco makes his directing debut with this ambitious adaptation of William Faulkner's notoriously downbeat novel. No surprise: it's extremely grim!
Like Franco's other directorial efforts, it ends up coming across as an academic art object, somewhere halfway between a graduate thesis and a video installation-interesting, but only in context.
| Original Score: C
Faulkner fans... need not be up in arms about this version of his Nobel Prize winner.
The past may never be done with us, but Lord, do we wish Franco was done with our literary heritage.
Franco adapted a book that often reads like joyless homework into a film that feels the same way.
James Franco's readiness in approaching famously abstract source material certainly doesn't translate well into his directorial formalism, or, more appropriately, lack of formalism.
Whilst undeniably pretty, As I Lay Dying never amounts to the kind of significance its source material, cast and portentous stylings would imply.
| Original Score: 4/10
an extraordinarily well made film that, in keeping us at a distance and failing to engage our sympathies or antipathies for its characters, remains more toothless in the end even than old Anse.
If this isn't a deliberate parody of furiously solemn, self-conscious artistic pretension, it's an accidental one.