Review of the Crucible | Teen Ink

Review of the Crucible

May 20, 2008
By Anonymous

What was Arthur Miller thinking when he wrote the screenplay for The Crucible?! The movie is an absolutely foul performance of The Crucible. Why would Arthur Miller write a play with such copious attention to detail in 1953, and then completely botch it years later, in the 1996 film version of The Crucible? If you enjoyed the book and all those insightful quotes and the sagacious hidden meanings in the story, then do not watch the movie and the ruining of the limpidness of the original play.
In the screenplay, allegedly written by Arthur Miller, the story takes on a completely different persona and is transformed into a two hour long bombastic and ostentatious circus of a performance led by Winona Ryder, playing the role of Abigail Williams, and her posse of “afflicted” girls.
After seeing that farce of a performance in the movie, you wish that Arthur Miller was still alive so you could confront him and tell him what a dreadful job he did writing the screenplay and what an embarrassment that meretricious screenplay of his sell-out story is. The quality of the movie, when compared the book, has completely different persona and it is strenuous comprehending that they were both written by the same man. It seems to me that another party was telling Arthur Miller how to write the screenplay and it is unmitigated that they had a minute knowledge of the original book. I think that the iniquitous director, Nicholas Hytner, is a prime suspect of being guilty of whispering in Miller’s ear, his version of The Crucible and how Miller should write the screenplay in order to be able to maximize profits and personal fame accredited to directing such an acclaimed production.
Arthur Miller betrayed his own principles when he wrote that screen play by slashing so much significant dialogue from the book, and skiving numerous important parts. At the end of this “editing” process, he left nothing but a gaggle of screaming girls gone wild crying “Spirits!” with a matching band of egotistical haughty judges to top off the whole charade.
In the film of The Crucible, there is scene after scene of poignant events, mostly comprising of irrational accusations and mass hysteria, which starts to deeply irritate you even before the first hour of the film. Then the movie gets completely out of hand and tosses the plot of the original story out the window: numerous scenes from the book are either excluded from the movie entirely or butchered to the point where little more than a few words and the basic gist of the scene appear in the movie.
The original story was that a young and zealous Abigail Williams was discovered in the forest with a group of other town-girls involved some obscene ritual by her strict and avaricious uncle, Reverend Parris. When questioned about the events in the forest Abigail denies it but her young cousin Betty has fallen into a “bewitched sleep” and will not wake up. Parris, scared of what this may mean, calls in Reverend Hale for insight and soon the multiple accusations of witchcraft begin, starting with Parris’ slave, Tituba, who names others out of fear. Then the true chaos starts when Abigail and a suddenly “cured” Betty jump on the accusation bandwagon and bring the rest of the girls on it with them. This eventually leads to calling in an unyielding judge Danforth and as well as several other judges that start a brutal inquisition resulting in the numerous executions of innocent citizens accused of witchcraft.
One of the superfluous differences between the book and the movie is that Abigail’s infamous motives of wanting to kill John Proctor’s, her ex-lover, wife Elizabeth, are blatantly expressed in the opening of the movie in the forest scene which is not part of the original story. Also, while watching the movie, you can see how the “afflicted” girls are feigning the “attacks of familiar spirits” to the point where it is just incredulous and you just astounded by their mediocre but flamboyantly performed dramatics.
Winona Ryder’s performance of Abigail Williams was over-the-top and it was gelastic seeing her act in the movie. Ryder made the part of Abigail Williams a travesty! It was an erratic and erroneous spectacle that Ryder created and it was just heinous seeing her on the screen. The rest of the characters playing the roles of Abigail’s “posse” followed suit like Ryder and it hyped up the entire movie.
Overall, the casting for the play was atrocious and the actors’ quality of performance greatly varied to the point where it just debased the overall caliber of the entire movie. Daniel Day-Lewis gave the only decent performance of all the actors and he was completely disaccorded with the rest of that cast, whom were not qualified for such an esteemed play that required a more certified cast.
The Crucible is intended for more mature audiences and should not be seen before high school, when considering the intense and profound events that happen in this movie, especially in the end. In my opinion, this film is a squandering of time if you have already read the book because the film is very dissimilar to it and a total prevarication of a decently intriguing book.

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