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on 5 March 2015
This was a wonderful adaptation of the book. Anyone studying this book for their GCSE's should definitely watch it!
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on 12 April 2014
Of Mice and Men (from now on known by the acronym we use at work - OMM!) is a classic piece of literature which is almost always available on the syllabus of most exam boards' GCSE English courses. We use it because we are a 16-19 F.E. college where our students are re-taking their English to get a C before they leave us, but they only have a year to do so. Therefore, we need a short book - and this is the one we use (and most of our students have done it at school as well). We do let them watch the film - just once - because unlike many film adaptations, this 1992 version directed by Gary Sinese (who also plays 'George') is very faithful to Steinbeck's original novel. Very little has been added in/taken away/adapted - in huge parts of the film you can, almost literally, read along to the script from the novel in front of you.

Oddly enough, though, I didn't buy it because of work. I bought it because my own daughters have never had to study it at school (by some fluke - others in their year group did) and have never read it. So I bought the DVD for them (one's doing her GCSE English this year) to see what they thought. I've been teaching it for so long, and seen the film at work with 6 different classes over the last term so often, that I've actually got too close to both the plot and the film's style to be 'surprised' or 'gripped' by it in the way I suspected a new viewer (my daughters) might be. Either that, or they were going to say it was boring! But the former was correct - in fact, one of them kept saying "Can we have dinner late - I don't want to stop watching till it's over." She was completely gripped by the plot and the way the film presents it.

It's a long film - be prepared if you want to watch it in one sitting. (Actually, you could read the book in one evening as well - it's really small!) But Sinese captures the text better than many directors who try to adapt 'classic' literature for the big screen. I'd say this is 'up there' with the film adaptation of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' in terms of the respect paid to the author and the novel itself (although the film of TKAM had to make compromises about what could be included to make the film work). Out of the two, of course OMM is the closest adaptation because it's a shorter book an is almost done is 'real time' (whereas a completely faithful film version of TKAM would probably end up at several hours!).

I wish Sinese had gone on to direct more films - this is the only film he ever made behind the camera. Malkovich's interpretation of Lennie is very strong - the big man with the Small surname, and all pathos of him not knowing his own strength, portrayed with an emotion you can't can't help but get involved in. The rest of the cast weren't (and, for most of us in the UK, probably still aren't) actors whose names roll of your tongue with any kind of recognition, but they all do a good job.

If you've never read OMM, or your children have studied it and talked about it and you're wondering what the book is about for yourself, then you can do worse than buy this film adaptation (which is half the price of some of the paperback versions out there!). If you like it it would be a good next step to read the book - a film is no substitute in the long run. If your child is studying the book at school, and hasn't seen the film, then there's nothing wrong with them watching it once or twice - but please remind them that the exam is on the book, not the film, and watching the film doesn't mean they shouldn't read the book several times! Film adaptations are like study guides - useful, but not a replacement for the text they are supporting!

If you buy, I hope you enjoy.
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERon 21 June 2014
It's never easy to do a film about such as well respected and celebrated book, Steinbeck's story is one of tragedy and heartache, a very human story that is sure to touch all that read it. But here we get to watch it

Gary Sinise acts and directs in this more modern version, supported by a superb performance from John Malkovich. Both lead actors do justice to the roles.
The story is quite simple, George Milton (Sinise) and Lennie Small (Malkovich) are companions, George is clever and quick thinking, Lennie has a mental disability and acts like a child in many ways, but has great physical strength. Set during the depression both men are looking for work travelling from farm to farm. However whenever they appear to settle in and get stable work, something usually goes wrong for them, and Lennie is the source of most problems (unwittingly - his physical strength is his weakness) Both men dream of a simple life with a place of their own.

Sinise portrays the part of George well, deep down with compassion for Lennie and a feeling of responsibility to look after him, but there are moments of frustration for George too. Lennie has a heart and good intentions, but is unable to control his great strength or his actions. George has to think for himself and Lennie.

Malkovich gets into the role of Lennie in a way few actors could, this is a difficult part to play convincingly and he pulls it off with ease.
The direction is good, as is the cinematography, but it's the performances that stand out. Helped no end by an unusually touching story. Supporting cast is solid overall for the most part, though avid fans of the book will note there are some differences including the ending (after the tragic event involving Lennie) I don't mind this, some will it's down to personal taste. I like the closing scene myself

The film does retain the impact of the book, it's a heavy blow to take and quite devastating, the hopes and dreams of both men are shattered entirely. Steinbeck certainly was gifted in his ability to hit emotions hard. This isn't a film you can walk away from and not think about afterwards. The production was not a commercial success, but then many poor films were, and many good ones were not, neither has any bearing on a viewers pleasure.

Sinise has for the most part pulled it off, though to some the book can never be matched, (a few minor cast performances are a little predictable at times too)... this as near as you could get though. For those who have never read the book or seen the film, stock up on some tissues. An outstanding story that should be viewed by all.
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on 31 January 2006
Of mice and men is, in its book form, a novelette. This means that theoretically it should be relatively simple to transform to script. Sinise has amazingly managed to prove that wrong, how I do not know. It seems that Sinise has decided that it required a Hollywood touch, so he transformed what would have been a brilliant cult film into something that fails in both categories. He managed too transform the book from a ‘Lennie’ centred piece of cult, to a weird concept of George and Curley. This means that Lennie is rarely seen during the first half of the film, before being desperately shoved in near the end in an attempt to keep to one concept of the magnificent novelette.
With all the things Sinise has distorted, the pace was the main blunder. He completely messed up; making some essential scenes pass too quickly, and making some unimportant ones take forever and ever.
As for the production, the set seems too grand to be in the great depression era, the same with the costume design. The hairstyles especially, as I suspect that I could go to my local barbers and select that same hairstyle from a glossy. The actors are also too clean and well shaven, for what seems in the book a rough bunch.
I must compliment the set, even though it is rather irrelevant to the set time, as it is designed and used well.
The lighting is simplistic, yet effective. It gave the right kind of atmosphere in the right situation, especially in the final stable scene. The film did have some above average photography.
I think the best performance was that of Candy (Walston). He superiorly confronted losing his dog, and you could see that he really believed in Lennie and George’s farm plan.
Overall I find that Of Mice and Men by Gary Sinise was rather disappointing, from the moment it began: appalling music, a completely contrasting Lennie towards the book, who was also bald (which scared the hell out of me) and old, and spoke in an inaudible tone, making the Lennie I loved in the book, someone I hated in the film. Thus as I was saying, a very disappointing film based on a fantastic novelette.
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on 15 March 2010
The book is sooooo sooooooo much better than this film. I can't believe it is masquerading as the film of the book iyswim!John Malkovitch is awful in it, he overacts and has his acting face on throughout the film. If I could only tell you how good the book is in comparison. A huge disappointment to me.
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on 5 March 2002
I watched this film in my english lesson and I usually hate watching films when they are split by two or three days, but this film i LOVED. For the first time my class was silent and content at the same time.
John Malkovich's performance of Lennie was superb, it was so realistic. Gary Sinise was also brilliant although sometimes a little subdued when he shouldn't have been.
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on 21 March 2001
I think this movie is a real class film , mainly due to it being a relatively unknown. Malkovich is a perfect match for Steinbecks simple Lenny , and Sinise is great as his travelling friend George.This is a very upsetting film as it is so true and it is a must see with any audience.This is an all time classic!!!
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on 25 March 2011
The dvd came promptly and in good order. the dvd was not for me so I can not say what the dvd was all about.The student that wanted the film has not seen it either so bear with me until he does!!
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on 14 December 2001
This is one of the most beautiful, moving films i have ever had the fortune to watch. Gary Sinise, as both director and actor (George)recognises that changing the spirit of an already wonderful book is not what the viewers want to see, so instead it is captured and brought to life before our eyes.
Sinise and Malkovitch's portrayal of George and Lennie is sensitive and realistic, and at times truly heart-breaking. The setting is breathtaking and this is one of the only films that i can literally find no fault with.
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on 13 April 2003
Of Mice And Men the movie had a hell of a lot to live up to, in the shadow of its novel parent. Steinbeck wrote a story intending to comment on the views of America in terms of race and prejudice at the time. In light of this, however, the film does a pretty good job. Gary Sinise, who both stars in and directs the film, is perfect for the role of George. He plays the character just as he is described in the book-a hard, bitter man, not really letting the audience or his best friend Lenny see his true colours. That said, he cannot help but stand in the shadow of John Malkovich's stunning portrayal of Lenny. Malkovich develops Lenny to a point where the audience feels the injustice of the treatment he receives. We want it all to work out in the end. We feel every inch of Lenny's emotions, from excitement to desperate fear, to his huge love and respect for George, and this is to Malkovich's credit. Both actors give a strong and powerful performance, strengthened by both the actors supporting them and the excellent story of Steinbeck's.
Although, of course, the messages and intention of Steinbeck's original story have been diluted, they are still wonderfully highlighted by the film. The plight of both Curley's wife and the black stable buck is painfully revealed to us, as is George's cold and dark attitude to those who treat Lenny with malice or fear. Personally, I thought Curley's wife was a bit 'off' in terms of how she appears in the film and how she is presented in the book. Of course, if you are not looking to compare the two (and the film stands on its own even without the novel) the portrayal of Curley's wife is strong, and we feel her struggle as she lives her life in a place she clearly hates.
The closing scenes are utterly emotive, and we get to see just how deeply the relationship between George and Lenny runs. Both Sinise and Malkovich play these scenes hauntingly well, and if the intention of the director is to be fulfilled, you will be reaching for the tissues as plenty of personal questions are raised.
I thought that this was a very good film, doing both the novelist and all of the actors tied to the story, a very great credit.
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