Monday, January 31, 2005

The Work and the Glory Movie: We Liked It

If you enjoyed the historical novel series the Work and the Glory, you will probably enjoy the movie by the same name. In fact, I’m sure many people that have never read the books would enjoy the film. However, if you don’t like this genre of movie, which includes a number of emotional scenes, you might want to save your money. While the movie has been in Utah cinemas for months, my wife and I were only able to see it this past weekend.

I am no professional movie reviewer and I haven’t been tainted by reading any professional reviews of the film. I have found that film critics cater to an audience that generally doesn’t include people like me that rarely get out to the movies and derive entertainment value differently than people that watch movies for a living or as a hobby.

My wife and I felt that several things were done very well. The story remained quite true to the book. The sets were wonderful. The casting was excellent. All of the actors played their parts very well. I particularly enjoyed actor Sam Hennings as Benjamin Steed and the actress that played Lydia McBride’s aunt (I couldn’t discover her name by searching the web; she's only a minor character). We enjoyed the cinematography. The backlit scenes were my favorite. My wife loved the panoramic scenes.

The only complaint I have didn’t detract much from my appreciation of the movie. Most of the characters speak a rough-hewn form of American frontier English liberally sprinkled with the likes of “we was” and other poor grammar. The villainous characters have the worst grammar. However, Joseph and Hyrum Smith always seem to use proper grammar. To me this doesn’t seem realistic. No major issue here, just a minor complaint. My wife had no problem with this.

The movie covers most of the story in the first book of the series. The book and the movie spend a lot of time developing the Nathan Steed and Lydia McBride characters as well as their blossoming relationship. The main story line focuses on interpersonal relationship challenges that result from some characters converting to the Mormon faith. The story of the translation of the Book of Mormon and the founding of the LDS Church are the main vehicle for the story, but are used as structural support rather than as the main story. The idea is to help viewers understand the experiences of average individuals that lived through this portion of church history.

We have already decided that we want to get the movie when it is released on DVD. While I’m not sure our children would have enjoyed the film in the theater, they might enjoy a family viewing experience at home. If you haven’t seen the film yet, take the opportunity to do so. My wife suggests that you bring some tissues.

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