Ever since Hollywood begun to make movies, Hollywood has attempted to movies that are based on celebrated literature. More often than not, the directors are so concerned with making the film entertaining that they stray from what makes those original literatures themselves popular, the ability to arouse strong emotions within its readers. This practice usually turns a masterpiece into a piece of farce. Fortunately, such mistakes are not made in the film adaptation of Arthur Miller’s play the Crucible. One important factor in the film is the fact that its directors did not try to do too much with the original work. The result is a rarity among film adaptation of literatures, a movie that surpasses the original work.
The film begins with Abigail (Winona Ryder) and a group of girls dancing in the woods. While the rest of the girls are trying to cast charms on boys they have a crush on, the love struck Abigail shows her sinister side for the first time when she puts a curse to John Proctor’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) wife Elizabeth (Joan Allen). The plot becomes interesting when Abigail’s uncle Reverend Parris (Bruce Davison) stumbles of upon the girls. Abigails’s cousin Betty became sick due to shock, but the superstitious villagers believe it to be the work of witchcraft. Desperate for his daughter’s health and his own reputation, Reverend Parris called a minister by the name of Reverend Hale to come to Salem to search out witches. After Reverend Hale questioned many of the girls that were seeing dancing, it seems that Abigail was the cause of every thing. Fearing of the punishment, Abigail points the finger at some else. The result is a wide spread panic that ends in tragedy.
The two lead actors in the film are great. Winoa Ryder and Daniel Day-Lewis did a wonderful job in bringing out two of our strongest emotions, hatred for Abigail and sympathy for John Proctor. Though some might pity the heart-broken Abigail in the beginning, Abigail’s unceasing attempts to frame Elizabeth of witch craft causes one to have immense hatred for Abigail. On the other hand, though some might scold John Proctor for the sin of lechery and taking advantage of a teenage girl in the beginning, his loyalty to his friends and wife makes one almost want to worship him despite his sins. The only down side to the cast of the film was Elizabeth Proctor. This critic thought she over did the part of the cold wife; she showed absolutely no emotions at all through out the entire film.
Overall, this is an incredibly good film. There were a few changes to the original play, but those changes actually enhances the plot and makes the theme of the fear that was presented in the original play even more evident. This film is a must see for those who enjoyed the play and those who are looking for a good drama.
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