East of Eden - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

East of Eden Reviews

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January 18, 2015
A titanic performance from Dean
January 6, 2015
The emotion radiates off of the screen in this adaptation of Steinbeck's novel. The main reason to watch it, of course, is the sweeping career opening performance by James Dean. The film feels completely modern because of it.
December 16, 2014
Well this family had issues! James Dean was great and the director did a good job. the lighting and the camera angles helped the scenes and the characters
December 15, 2014
Beautifully crafted, emotionally resonant and simply fantastic, East of Eden has it all - it has a wonderful performance from James Dean, assured direction from great Eliza Kazan, simply stunning and incredibly touching finale, great pacing, important theme and excellent screenplay which magnificently adapts the material, the story of Cain and Abel, and modernizing it for today's audiences. It is, along with astonishing Marty, the finest movie of 1955.
½ December 15, 2014
Whilst certain elements have not dated as well as others, the film has its place in cinema history as a catapult for the raw talent of James Dean, the 1950's Heath Ledger, as well as being a pretty good effort to put Steinbeck's novel on the screen. It wrestles well with the ideas, although one feels if it were remade now, the good/bad theme would need to be more complex, tougher perhaps. It is no 'Of Mice and Men', but the time, place, as well as Steinbeck's division of people in an America on the doorstep of war, are well captured. An engaging movie adaption everyone should see once, especially film and literature fanatics.
October 17, 2014
As powerful today as it is influential, East of Eden is a remarkable film, a film that seems to bring to life the world of wartime USA, and showcases fantastic writing, direction, and acting, in particular James Dean, who's incredible, brilliant performance only serves as a reminder of the tragedy of the film star dying so young and stands proud among the great, classic performances.
September 15, 2014
A story of bad and good, with a similarity to that of cain and abel, has a great adaptation to the John Steinbeck novel. Everyone gives a good performance but James Dean outshines them all with his loveable and impressive performance of Cal. If there is just one thing to take from this movie its that James Dean has left us too early.
September 7, 2014
The story of Cain and Abel, I mean Cal and Aron in WWI California. While not based on the whole John Steinbeck novel, but only the second half of the novel, still a great adaptation. Probably the best of James Dean's roles.
August 24, 2014
I probably shouldn't have watched this straight off the book, which is phenomenal. I know an adaptation should be evaluated on it's own and not as an adaptation. But Steinbeck's novel is an absolute masterpiece, taking its biblical inspiration and extracting from it complexity and humanity, questioning and deepening the story of Cain and Abel. Kazan's adaptation is smaller in scope, and this is out of necessity, but what is left is so devoid of context that the characters' motivations are trivialized and they come off as hysterical. Morally, we're brought back to the simplicity of the biblical allegory, the very simplicity that Steinbeck was questioning on the most fundamental level.

The film is trite and melodramatic, a complete step backward from the novel. James dean might be brilliant but surrounded as he is by overacting, that brilliance is only visible in retrospect.
½ August 4, 2014
Kazan, Steinbeck, Dean, Harris.
....that loud breaking sound? Yeah that was my heart.
July 26, 2014
Not nearly as good as the novel, but any movie with this combination of good actors is sure to be satisfying, and East of Eden delivers.
July 13, 2014
A son desperately views for his father's approval, despite being overshadowed by his perfect brother. There are incredible performances in this film, for a sweeping biblical like drama with lots of icky emotions and wants.
July 11, 2014
I don't want any kind of love anymore, it doesn't pay off.
½ July 3, 2014
Brilliant. James Dean really commands the screen. Great characters in a great story.
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2014
The son of a farmer desperately seeks his father's approval.
In this film James Dean looks like he could either violently explode or be disintegrated into a million pieces by a light breeze. His performance is a showcase in vulnerability, which, in a way, is was acting is about - the vulnerability and availability of an actor's emotional truth and interpretation of the character. The story is fine, but by the end of the film, all I can remember is Dean, whose performance is a master class in what acting should be.
Overall, see this film for James Dean.
June 30, 2014
Loosely based on John Steinbeck's self-proclaimed 'Magnum opus', Elia Kazan's emotive drama is best famed as the film which propelled James Dean into stardom. Dean's depiction of troubled youth is truly tour-de-force; a blend of Brando-esque animalism and childhood heartache fused into a walking, brooding nightmare.
We feel for Dean in the same way we feel for a caged ape torn from its mother and held in claustrophobic solitude, yet we fail to ever fully understand him all the same. It's a masterwork of enigmatic performance and, thematically, narratively and characteristically, Kazan's film is phenomenal, ferocious and raw throughout. Not to mention absolutely gorgeous.
June 7, 2014
The only film James Dean saw before his death with him in the leading role, is still one of the young actor's finest performances.
May 9, 2014
A film that compels you with its underlying depth. James Dean is remarkable.
May 3, 2014
While his next film Rebel Without A Cause was his most well known, East Of Eden was Dean's lead role debut and has his finest performance of his short-lived career. Exquisitely well shot with some cinematography far ahead of its time, and based on a Steinbeck story (usually great as always) fronted with a genuine, chilling yet emotional performance from James Dean, this film soars with a WW1 era story about an introverted boy who feels out of place with his father and much smarter brother and seeks gratification by seeking the kind of love his father couldn't offer while also trying to redeem his good side and rid of his supposedly so-called rotten side. The film is never dull, always amounting to something, and has its moments of fun, tragedy, drama, and romance. The transformation of things from the start to end is remarkable, more or less as a result of Cal's actions.
April 17, 2014
Directed by one of the most respected filmmakers in america, East of eden was one of the three movies on James dean's entire career. Dean's performance is so moving,electrifying and powerful that many compared him with another method actor of his time (Marlon brando) and many other called him a copy of brando, Dean was a complete different creature, a phenomenon that lasted around 5 years and vanished forever but that still lives on three superb masterpieces (Rebel without a cause,East of eden and Giant). East of eden its a brilliant drama about youth rebellion and loss,desiire and conflict, all of the above focus on Dean's character, Cal.
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