Nicholas Hytner's passionate screenplay of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" is definitely worth the $7.50 admission price, although you must be willing to sacrifice most of your evening to its rage and pity since it runs over two hours. The Salem witch trials are portrayed as unfair and marked with gruesome deaths and abysmal sadness.The movie's depiction of the hypocrisy of the courts in 1692 and the moving decision of John Proctor (Daniel Day Lewis) are truly enraging.
The movie realistically portrays many extreme emotions, simultaneously stirring up others in the audience. Although she has never lied before, Mrs. Proctor (Joan Allen) displays her everlasting love for her husband when she attempts to save him. Her decision arouses the viewer's sympathy. The demonic deceit shown in the court by the young girls who accuse people of witchcraft and the blind justice handed down by Judge Danforth (Paul Scofield) stir up anger and resentment in the viewer. The sadness that accompanies the crowds of townspeople who follow the girls allowing them to say who shall die, including even their faithful nurse, arouses a sense of horror.
Elements of the movie at times seem almost humorous. The fact that the teenager Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) and her girlfriends are able to convict so many people of witch-craft by repeatedly faking their visions of the devil was camp. All Abigail, the leader, had to do is point at someone and scream in fright, and systematically each of her young girl friends did the same, which seemed too contrived. Yet, I had tears streaming down my face when the film ended.
Truth and morality prevail in John Proctor, who refuses to admit to the crime of witchcraft even as he faces death. Proctor will not give his name to a lie or sell his soul to the devil. As painful as this scene is, it is also refreshing. I highly recommend "The Crucible." It will not only provide you with an emotional roller coaster ride, it will also teach you a history lesson
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.