An Unfinished Life Reviews
Most of the time, the success and overall rating of Hallstrom's movies comes down to its source material. Much of the success of "The Cider House Rules" is credited to the book and screenplay by John Irving, and rightly so. But Hallstrom deserve a lot of credit as well, by perfectly taking the source material from page to screen and deliver a great movie. With "An Unfinished Life", Hallstrom has done it again. Based on a popular book, Hallstrom takes this story from page to screen and deliver a movie with his own touch and clean execution. There was some debate during the production where the author of the book, Mark Spragg, withdrew his support because of too many changes in the script compared to the book. The basic story itself though, is largely intact. The loss of success of this movie though, comes down to the fact that Mark Spragg is no John Irving. John Irving is a contemporary giant in American litterature. His books will still be read 100 years from now. Mark Spragg, I am doubtful. By that, you also get to the weakness of Hallstrom. He can not elevate a movie very much beyond its source material, like some other (few) great directors can. He takes the source material as is, and makes a clean translation. Never better, never worse.