James Franco's Cormac McCarthy adaptation 'Child of God' hits theaters, earns mixed reviews

By Daniel S Levine,

Didn’t James Franco just adapt a book by a literary giant? Less than a year after turning William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying into a film, the prolific multi-multi-hyphenate has turned his attention to Cormac McCarthy with Child of God. The low-budget movie hits limited theaters this weekend.

In an interview with The New York Daily News before a screening at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, Franco called it his “favorite” film project so far. “It’s dark and disturbing, and Bernadette Peters is here, and she didn’t know that, so I hope she likes it,” Franco said.

The film stars Scott Haze as the homeless killer/necrophiliac Lester Ballard, living in the Tennessee mountains. It was actually shown at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, but, for whatever reason, distributor Well Go USA held it back until now.

It turns out that the reason might have been that the film isn’t very good. Child of God earned mixed reviews and only a 34 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Negative reviews noted that while Franco may love McCarthy, he shows his weakness as a director.

“Franco is understandably drawn to McCarthy's spare and eloquent prose. But the over-achieving actor/director/author/student/selfie enthusiast is undeniably the wrong match for the material,” USA Today’s Claudia Puig wrote. “He goes for shock value above all.”

Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers did have a few nice things to say about it, notably praising Haze’s acting.

Child of God is in limited theaters starting today.

image courtesy of INFphoto.com



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