To Kill a Mockingbird Movie Review :
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“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a time capsule, preserving hopes and sentiments from a kinder, gentler, more naive America. It was released in December 1962, the last month of the last year of the complacency of the postwar years. The following November, John F. Kennedy would be assassinated. Nothing would ever be the same again — not after the deaths of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, not after the war in Vietnam, certainly not after September 11, 2001. The most hopeful development during that period for America was the civil rights movement, which dealt a series of legal and moral blows to racism. But “To Kill a Mockingbird,” set in Maycomb, Alabama, in 1932, uses the realities of its time only as a backdrop for the portrait of a brave white liberal.
The movie has remained the favorite of many people. It is currently listed as the 29th best film of all time in a poll by the Internet Movie Database. Such polls are of questionable significance, but certainly the movie and the Harper Lee novel on which it is based have legions of admirers. It is being read by many Chicagoans as part of a city-wide initiative in book discussion. It is a beautifully-written book, but it should be used not as a record of how things are, or were, but of how we once liked to think of them.
The novel, which focuses on the coming of age of three young children, especially the tomboy Scout, gains strength from her point of view: It sees the good and evil of the world through the eyes of a six-year-old child. The movie shifts the emphasis to the character of her father, Atticus Finch, but from this new point of view doesn’t see as much as an adult in that time and place should see.
In a small Alabama town in the 1930s, scrupulously honest and highly respected lawyer, Atticus Finch puts his career on the line when he agrees to represent Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape. The trial and the events surrounding it are seen through the eyes of Finch’s six-year-old daughter, Scout. While Robinson’s trial gives the movie its momentum, there are plenty of anecdotal occurrences before and after the court date: Scout’s ever-strengthening bond with older brother, Jem, her friendship with precocious young Dill Harris, her father’s no-nonsense reactions to such life-and-death crises as a rampaging mad dog, and especially Scout’s reactions to, and relationship with, Boo Radley, the reclusive ‘village idiot’ who turns out to be her salvation when she is attacked by a venomous bigot.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a major film achievement, a significant, captivating and memorable picture that ranks with the best of recent years. “Pakula-Mulligan pic in line for honors.” On Dec. 11, 1962, The Hollywood Reporter appraised the film adaptation of Harper Lee’s landmark novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The film, starring Gregory Peck, went on to claim eight nominations at the 35th Academy Awards and three wins.