A drama that swoops in on Empire Falls, an economically depressed mill town in Maine, and lifetime resident Miles Roby, who's run the town's top restaurant for some twenty years. Miles is surrounded by his newly thin wife, meddling father, and hostile boss.Written by
It took me weeks to read the book, which, for me, is unusual. It wasn't that I didn't like it; to the contrary, I couldn't believe how terrific it was. But I could not put my finger on why it was taking me so long to read, until I reached the final third of the book: I simply did not want it to end. I had come to know the characters so well, through the deftness of Richard Russo's prose, and had come to like (at least most of) them, that I couldn't bring myself to say goodbye.
Such was my reaction to HBO's film version of this great American novel.
Others here have praised the production, so I'll only add my brief thoughts: The cast, from the main players to the secondary characters, is uniformly excellent, with one or two exceptions. It was thrilling to see Joanne Woodward back on the screen, but she interprets the role with a softness that, in my opinion, was entirely absent from the actual character she was portraying. So, a point or two off there. Otherwise, the acting was brilliant.
The screenplay adhered very closely to the novel, but some key dialog was disappointingly missing. I recognize that a 400+ page book, to be translated to film, requires editorial discretion. Still, a few things were lost that should have remained.
While the first half takes its time to establish characters and relationships, the second half feels rushed, and the ending definitely so. I couldn't help but feel that something was left on the cutting room floor. But then again, I didn't want it to end in the first place.
Because I am such a fan of the book, I was eager for my wife to see the movie (she hasn't read the book). So, I had a lot invested in the hope that they wouldn't screw it up. When the final credits rolled, I looked over at her, and her tears were flowing. "I didn't want it to end," she said quietly.
And neither will you.
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