As I Lay Dying (2013)

R  |   |  Drama  |  22 October 2013 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 2,915 users   Metascore: 50/100
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Based on the 1930 classic by Faulkner, it is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family's quest to honor her wish to be buried in the nearby town of Jefferson.



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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Addie Bundren
Cora Tull (as Jennifer Howell)
Natalie Minton ...
Kate Tull
Anna Kooris ...
Eula Tull
Steve Nabors ...
Reverend Whitfield
John Still ...
Susan McMillin ...
Mrs. Samson


Based on the 1930 classic by Faulkner, it is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family's quest to honor her wish to be buried in the nearby town of Jefferson.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing images, some sexual content and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 October 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El último deseo  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,143 (USA) (11 October 2013)


$15,009 (USA) (18 October 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original book upon which the movie is based is told from the perspective of 15 different characters over 59 chapters. Split screens are used throughout much of the movie and this is designed to reflect the different perspectives of the characters. See more »


(at around 23 mins) Just before the reverend begins to sing, "Shall we gather at the river", and just as Anse says, "She's going to a better place," the boom mic is visible above his head. See more »


[first lines]
Addie Bundren: My father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead for a long time.
See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Cannes Film Festival 2013 (2013) See more »


Shall We Gather at the River?
Written by Robert Lowry
Performed by Funeral Service Attendees
See more »

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User Reviews

Contemplative Mortal Ruminations
27 November 2013 | by (Quezon City, Philippines) – See all my reviews

"As I Lay Dying" is not an easy sell as a commercial film. The title already intimates that it will be a depressing story about Death. It is based on the novel of an author, who, while being a Nobel Laureate, is not really known for being very easy to read -- William Faulkner. Hence, we can expect a film that is similarly hard to watch. Upon giving it a go, I am not wrong on both counts.

This film is about the Bundrens, a poor but proud rural family from the boondocks of Mississippi. The mother Addie (Beth Grant) dies at the beginning of the film. Her husband Anse and their five children bring her coffin a long distance to Addie's hometown to be buried, in order to fulfill a dying wish. Along their long trip, we will get to know each character better as each one has his own little story to tell.

This is one very slow film which will strain the patience of the most moviegoers. The contemplative script is full of deep monologues as each character tells his version of life. It certainly reflects the style that Faulkner is famous for -- his stream of consciousness writing style as well as the multiple narrators.

This is the directorial debut of hard-working star James Franco, who has certainly gone a long way from when we first knew him as Harry Osborne in "Spider Man." He bravely tackles a difficult novel and he actually succeeds to visually interpret it very well. Once you get the drift of this languid storytelling style, and his attention-grabbing split screen technique, you will be mesmerized and drawn in. The imagery used is compelling as the grand country vistas contrast with intimate personal moments.

Easily the best performer in the cast is Tim Blake Nelson as the stubborn and irascible patriarch of the brood, Anse. He has most realistic portrayal with that hot-potato drawl of his, uttering the most maddening of pronouncements. There is actually humor in his unpleasantness.

The five Bundren children and the actors who play them, namely Cash (Jim Parrack), Darl (James Franco), Jewel (Logan Marshall-Green), Dewey Dell (Ahna O'Reilly) and little Vardaman (Brady Permenter), all have their moments. While Darl seemed to be the most centered of all the characters, ironically, it was James Franco who seemed to lack something in his portrayal. Maybe it is because we expect the most from him.

This film is not for everyone because of its glacial pace and dark brooding subject matter. But with the proper attitude and frame of mind, you may actually find this a fascinating rumination about life and mortality, as you immerse yourself in this grim slice of rural American life in the 1920s. 7/10.

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