Thursday, August 9, 2012
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Running Time: Approx. 4 hrs., 27 mins.
Dive into THE JODI PICOULT COLLECTION, a compelling 3-disc compilation featuring a trio of Lifetime Original Movies based on the works of the New York Times best-selling author.
SALEM FALLS, directed by Bradley Walsh and starring James Van Der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek”), Sarah Carter (“Falling Skies”) and AJ Michalka (Hellcats, Super 8), tells the story of a beloved teacher and soccer coach (Van Der Beek) at an all girls’ prep school whose career is ruined when a student’s crush initiates an uproar of false accusations. When he begins his life again in Salem Falls, a shocking rape accusation turns his world upside down and triggers a modern day witch hunt.
PLAIN TRUTH, directed by Paul Shapiro and starring Mariska Hargitay (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) and Allison Pill (Midnight in Paris), is a movie about high-profile criminal attorney (Hargitay) who ditches her self-indulgent city life to defend an Amish teenager (Pill) on trial for murdering her newborn baby.
THE PACT, directed by Peter Werner and starring Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”), is a powerful story about a supposed “suicide pact” between two teens that goes terribly awry. When only one of the children dies, both sets of parents must look at their friendship, loss, and guilt as they try to figure out the truth about the fateful night.
As a major fan of Jodi Picoult's work and often a fan of Lifetime, my expectations for the adaptation of The Pact were not necessarily high, just respectable. You see, The Pact was the very first book by Jodi Picoult that I ever read. It holds a special place in my heart. I dreamed of a movie before I knew there was a movie. But to put this DVD into my player and discover the poor visual quality of this film (really, this couldn't have been remastered?), it took away 100% from my experience. Not only that but there were many aspects of the book that I was looking for that were stripped away. It felt like the bones of the book, barely, not all that made up the heart of the book. Long story short, I was completely disappointed.
Plain Truth was significantly better. The writing was much better, the casting, the production value, everything about this film was better. While not necessarily my favorite Picoult novel, the execution of the film was fantastic. Plain Truth is easily the best Lifetime adaption of Picoult's novels. Plain Truth doesn't miss a beat. Every hint of mystery and every emotion evoked from Picoult's writing can be felt in each and every scene of the film. How many adaptations can you say that about? Job well done here. Wow.
Salem Falls is a tricky one to touch on. Everything initially said about Plain Truth can be said about Salem Falls and yet this film still falls short. The circle of girls are so cooky in the book (and equally cooky in the film) that it is hard to take them seriously as characters let alone individuals with depth. There was also a lot of ground left uncovered in general. Definitely read the book first. Sure, once you've seen one Salem Witch Trials retelling, you've seen them all (minus the phenomenal job the cast & crew on Charmed). Making it modern day doesn't really make it more or less watchable. But I am a sucker for all things Salem Witch Trials. And yet. Yet this film just wasn't enough. This adaptation should have been given more time to put more meat into the script and more time period to let this story be told. Sure, there are a number of problems with the film, but in the end, it comes out as a much better film than The Pact which was a total disappointment.
Bottom line... Should fans of Jodi Picoult buy the collection? Well, if you enjoyed at least one of the three films, I'd say yes, it's worth it. But if your feelings are more... "No thanks, I'll just watch My Sister's Keeper over and over," well, I won't hate you!
Unfortunately, there are no bonus features on this DVD.
Own The Jodi Picoult Collection on DVD today.
Written by Melody Simpson at 10:36 PM