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Mixed or average reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

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6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: Based on the 1930 classic by William Faulkner, the story chronicles the Bundren family as they traverse the Mississippi countryside to bring the body of their deceased mother Addie to her hometown for burial. Addieâ
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. Reviewed by: Boyd Van Hoeij
    May 25, 2013
    83
    The film seems to have been made to suggest something of Faulkner's style in a cinematic medium, and it's certainly laudable that there have been very few concessions to the marketability of a project like this.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    May 25, 2013
    70
    Franco, employing diverse cinematic techniques from split screen (mostly early on) to direct-to-camera address, makes the Bundrens’ time of trial more immediately coherent than it is on the page without disrespecting Faulkner’s oblique style.
  3. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Oct 10, 2013
    70
    In rushing in where wise men might fear to tread, Mr. Franco has accomplished something serious and worthwhile. His As I Lay Dying is certainly ambitious, but it is also admirably modest.
  4. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    May 25, 2013
    50
    As I Lay Dying is another Franco lark that is more of an experiment with form than a fully realized movie. One almost gets the sense that Franco is working out ideas with As I Lay Dying, with the goal of creating a cohesive film as a secondary ambition to simply capturing the feel of Faulkner's prose.
  5. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    Oct 9, 2013
    50
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Oct 10, 2013
    40
    Alas, the split-screen compositions, slow-motion effects, pensive closeups and prosthetic teeth can’t distract from what’s missing: Faulkner’s pointed but deeply buried observations of the human condition.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Oct 11, 2013
    38
    As Franco dilutes the drama with first-year-film-student gimmicks, like split screens and slow motion, it just seems like a dull collection of pointless monologues from actors who can’t even be bothered to match up their accents. Franco is a dilettante, and it shows.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Nov 2, 2013
    9
    (It took a long time for me to watch this film in the Tribeca Film Festival. So its a late review) James Franco brings his tactics altogether in As I Lay Dying. First of all, Franco makes a beautiful and reflective film that absorbs power and danger. It's a little slow but once the drama pumps it begins. As I Lay Dying is one of Franco's greatest films yet In my opinion. The acting also done by James is astonishing and breathtaking. This is a must watch movie with forgivable pacing flaws. Hard, Gritty and Powerful- As I Lay Dying is a must watch for anyone. Expand
  2. Jun 9, 2014
    7
    I always wondered why James Franco was never vastly recognised as a film director than an actor. If you ask me, I say he was always at his best who mostly pick biographies and dramas. This movie is one of the year's widely undernoticed and underappreciated. As always, that leads me to hate critics who divert the movie fans from this movie a watch.

    This was one of the best dramas I had seen that set in the rural of the early 1900s. About the family of brothers and sister who lost their mother. As being in a remote village they struggle to travel nearby burial ground that is days away to reach. So theirs quest starts to take twists and turns among siblings and the mother nature. Each of them has individual hidden secrets that not related to their mother's death, but as a character. One after another letting us know theirs another face till the adventures ends in peace.

    I really liked this movie. The tone of the setting of that era was so perfect. Feels like they all went for a century back to the original time to make the movie so accurately. It was based on the novel by the same name. Might be a fictional work, though, depicts the true lifestyle and transporting system of those times. No fights, no guns, a purely family based drama which might be a little brutal in parts, but kind of realistic according to that era. Don't miss this movie, a movie based on the old era is not frequent nowadays. Movies like this now and then really give a good opportunity to the modern people to know the forgotten culture. Hope you all realise what I am saying about the movie and its material.
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  3. Nov 5, 2013
    6
    This is a tough story to tell. Faulkner's painting of this story is very dynamic in the book. So I was very interested to see this film. And, is a fairly interesting visually and the characters are well casted with interesting depictions. It starts slowly but Franco eventually gets to the struggling, anagonizing, painful feeling Faulkner artfully portrays. With a Grapes of Wrath feeling the viewer becomes a passenger almost seemlessly. It is unfortunate most people will not see this film due to the lack of publicity. But worth a watch if you cannot read a book-otherwise get the book. Expand
  4. Nov 18, 2014
    6
    Franco does a very solid job at taking an incredibly hard book to adapt and making it into a 2 hour film showing everyone's point of view and how they handle loss. That being said, It's very tough to get into because they are trying to cram so much into such an average run time. Not a bad movie but I'd definitely recommend the book instead. Expand

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