Sunday, March 21, 2010

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

ahhhh, sigh. Harper Lee's classic novel turned into a classic & captivating film. I can't remember if I've seen this film before today. I do remember studying the novel (and loving it) in maybe grade 10 or so. It impacted me a lot during my high school years, this book. I reckon perhaps we were shown the film in school one day, upon completion of the text study. But in any case, today was the first time I've really *seen* it, and with adult eyes.

Despite at times thinking perhaps Peck's acting a bit melodramatic and too stoic, the truth is that he was the perfect Atticus Finch.
The film paints a picture of a time and place so remarkably, it's depressing.
Perhaps watching it on a Sunday afternoon whilst I'm coming down with a cold/flu was a good thing, in that the powerful and depressing story affected me a bit more.
Ahhh racism. Good old fashioned American southern racism.
But there's more to this novel/film than the subject of racism. I simply adore the way in which the film depicts the lives of the children - Jem, Scout and Dill. As a viewer you feel childlike again, along with Scout's point of narrative. The mysterry surrounding Boo Radley, the sneaking out behind Dad's back, not understanding exactly what it happening with the adult world around you, but guessing the gist of it.
I think that's why I loved this book in the first place, way back when.

Great film, very happy it's on this list.
4/5 stars


  1. I didn't study the book in secondary school but discovered it about 6 years ago. I wish we had read this book instead of Lord of the Flies but I digress.

    I was moved by the book and was very much looking forward to seeing the film as like you I felt that Peck had the presence to portray the quiet strength of Atticus but alas, I too was disappointed by his over acting. Like you, I loved how the film managed to capture the poverty of the time and place perfectly whilst not avoiding the subject of racism. I do feel however, that they downplayed the strength of the racism to appeal to the film crowd and in doing so the power of the judge's actions was lost. The biggest disappointment for me was how they downplayed the incestuous relationship between the girl and her father and the lengths to which she went to be alone with Tom. Lee's eloquent portrayal of the dysfunctional lives of the South is somehow lost to me without these things.

    Raquel :)

  2. excellent points, raqi!!! I wish now that I'd reread the novel before seeing this, because I reckon I would have felt strongly about the points you made, too! It's been wayyyy too long since I've read it. And yes, such a powerful novel with such big themes, like incest, abuse, and racism, demand proper attention in film version.

  3. It is well worth the time to reread it even if it is just for the feel good ending. I would love to see them remake the film as I think all the themes would get the proper attention because we no longer avoid those issues however, I worry that they couldn't capture the feel of the place like the original.

    Imagine writing one book in your life that was so amazingly powerful that decades later people still talk about it as a mile stone. It is like the Uncle Tom's Cabin of the 20th Century. What adaptations will move us that strongly this century?