A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1977) Poster

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8/10
Delicate and brooding
stills-611 August 2000
A delicate, brooding adaptation of Joyce's slim novel. The well-chosen cast struggles and mostly succeeds with the dialogue, largely taken directly from Joyce's words. In effect, this movie is the book come to life - as exactly as 90 minutes of film will allow.

Standouts include Stephen's father and a rousing interpretation of the famous description of Hell from John Gielgud.

The sensual novel, however, is made stiff and sometimes rather bland in deference to its philosophy. Bosco Hogan, as Stephen, gives a stone face and precious little energy to the interior monologue. By the end, his subtle gestures are a tad too subtle.

This movie takes perhaps too reverent a tone with the book. Even the sex scene is handled with a delicate, dry touch. What we are left with amounts to a series of images with a spoken word soundtrack. Sometimes this faithfulness to the book is to the detriment of the movie - It can be difficult to follow and drags in many places. Many of the shots are suggested directly from the text as if it were a screenplay in code - I found myself wishing that the director would take control and actually tell a story.
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