To Kill a Mockingbird the movie tries to put Harper Lee’s massive hit novel To Kill a Mockingbird on to the big screen. The adaptation into the screen has memorable moments but also has flaws. The book adaptation is about Atticus (played by Gregory Peck) a lawyer living in the racist filled deep south. Atticus has to defend a black man Tom Robinson (played by Brock Peters) in court because he was falsely accused of raping a white woman, the daughter of Bob Ewell. Through the events of this story Atticus’s children, Jean Louise and Jem Finch learn that their father is a “nigger lover”. Atticus wants to teach his children the right way to equality, in a microcosm of the racist filled south. I rate this movie a 3 out of 5 because To Kill a Mockingbird (the movie) does not perfectly adapt the source material. Taking away Naive perspective of the book.
To kill a Mockingbird has a great message to younger audiences about discrimination. This book is lovable because of its story playing out in the perspective of innocent minds. The symbolism through this book also teaches Jem and Jean (Atticus’s children) a lesson about how not to kill innocence/the innocents, which shows us the lynching happening in the time period that the story plays in. These characters live in a small town called Maycomb, which is a microcosm of the southern part of the united states during the 1930s. Scout the young protagonist faces challenges when coming of age as her dad faces of in court against the antagonist Bob Ewell a “redneck” who claims that her daughter was raped by the black man Atticus is defending, Through the story, we dive into the depths of racism in this southern town.
Scouts character development was a major flaw in the movie because as viewers we did not get to see her grow with mentors around her, she was just another piece in Atticus’s story. This is not what To Kill a Mockingbird is about. It is about scout growing as a character and learning that Maycomb county is not perfect. The director of this movie decided to focus on the court case instead of scouts character development. That part of the book was so special to me, I got to learn a lifelong lesson about discrimination with the protagonist of the book. If I had never read to kill a Mockingbird and saw scout in the movie I would have thought she was childish and never grew, however, in the book she understands the symbolism of killing a mockingbird (innocence) which is not just for killing Tom Robinson the innocent black man but for also growing up and letting go of your innocence.
Getting to grow with these characters is not the only lovable thing about them is getting to know their lifestyles in their small town, and seeing the things they enjoy doing. If you take this away from the book you also take away the fun that comes with the book. An example of removing silly moments was when they decided to remove the character Mr. Havrey. Jem during winter (a whole part of the book they decided to remove) was making a snowman, he made it really big and wide, he made it look angry and grumpy. When he finished he asked scout if it reminded her of anyone, she said Mr. Havrey and started laughing. Through this, we get to know the humor of these children better and it is a funny moment, I got a chuckle when I first read this. When I first read the book I loved scouts Tomboy personality, I loved the commitment that Jem had to his father’s job, and I loved how the characters learned and grew together. This movie does not have the same for me it makes me intrigued but not in love with its characters like the book did.
The production of this movie tells the story with great imagery and great casting. A highlight of the movie that stuck in my head was the casting of Gregory Peck, he does an amazing job at playing his role. Peck represents the character of Atticus so well, he shows maturity and treats his children with respect. Not a single moment across the movie I thought Peck was out of character, he consistently manages me to keep attached to the screen. Another Pro was the filming I thought the close ups into the faces of Tom Robinson during court made us really feel the emotions that the characters have. Overall the production of the movie looked really good. There was some questionable filming but even with black and white I still thought the scenery was really good. The imagery of the movie looked crisp.
The to kill a mockingbird movie, had solid choices on casting, memorable moments, but this movie does not capture the magic of the book by removing characters arches and moments of the book. The To Kill a Mockingbird movie successfully adapts the story but fails to pursue what made the book successful. This movie is a good adaptation of To kill a mockingbird but could have done much more. I rate this movie ⅗ because I just can’t watch it and watch it again without feeling tired of the story, unlike the book which wants me coming back for more.
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