: Set in South Africa, Disgrace
is a film adaptation of the novel by J.M. Coetzee
. David Lurie (John Malkovich
) is a 52-year-old professor who has a sexual relationship with one of his Black female students. Although consensual and the girl is of legal age, in post-Apartheid South Africa, Lurie is ostracized from his profession and community. He goes to live with his lesbian daughter, who is struggling with her own issues of identity and community.
: The person snoring next to me is a perfect example of how colossally insignificant this fatiguing and strenuous flick is with its implausibility, unrecognizable characters and tattered plot line. The beginning is deceiving with its strong start. David Lurie is trying to add some soul to his flavorless life with prostitutes and young girls. We get a creepy glimpse into the character's morbid reality, but scene by scene, the plot falls apart.
Yes, there are some good one-liners and Malkovich is such an amazing actor that even in a muddy film like this he is still jaw-dropping. Nonetheless, even Malkovich cannot save this convoluted flick.
For example, there is a sexual relationship with a young Black girl, but it's never explained why she would even consider sleeping with her professor who is bland in every way. She has a boyfriend, comes from a privileged background and Professor Lurie is no hunk by anyone's standards. There wasn't one millisecond to indicate why this beautiful girl would have a relationship with her cornball teacher. I am sure to someone who read the book this would all make sense, but every film adaptation should stand on its own. This is just one example of a massive question mark in the screenplay by Anna-Maria Monticelli
Once his relationship is made public he is disgraced and travels to a farm in South Africa with his daughter, Lucy, who is enduring a break-up. Suddenly, the audience is plopped in an entirely different flick -- it's as if the channel randomly changed from Lifetime Television
to National Geographic.
Lucy has a case of Apartheid guilt. She is a weak-minded, distressed victim who does the impractical with no explanation. Lucy is arguably the most uninteresting character on screen in all of 2009, an unacceptable throwback to damsel-in-distress female stereotypes from films of the 1940s and 1950s.
The novel won the Booker Prize in 1999, but this adaptation truly falls short of the glory. Racking up an epic 118 minutes, Disgrace
needed an entirely new script for a book that was obviously amazing and had the world talking 10 years ago. On the other hand, it could be possible this is one of those books that could never work as a movie.
is in theaters now.