Review| By Parker Place
‘Ethan Frome’ revivifies novel’s prestige
With his latest venture, director John Madden delivers another Blue-chip film adaptation of Ethan Frome, a novel by Edith Wharton. Madden translates the novel into an adequate cinematic reflection by using the dreary and bitter Northeastern winter, and the capture of types of light in scenes to accent the bare narration with corresponding moods. Madden introduces us to the pitiful image of our main character Ethan Frome, with the scene of Ethan trudging through heavy snow with a limp severe enough to drive away any stranger. As detrimental to his image of failure and hardship, Madden introduces his wife Zeena Frome as a sickly old grouch, not only a pain to care for, but a financial burden as well. Zeena’s presence crushes Ethan’s dream of rising from the difficult lifestyle of a farmer to take a chance in Florida’s bullish environment. Yet, with the introduction of Mattie Silvers, a devastated and grief stricken relative of Zeena Ethan regains the spark for life he earlier processed as a young entrepreneur. From there on out, Madden uses dramatic cinematography highlighting desire and wonder between the couple with close up facial shots, use of intimate lighting, and open and closed doors, representing the threat faced from infringement upon their relations by the antagonist, Zeena. The audience is then left tense and excitable like nervous investors with the unpredictable outcome of Ethan’s scandalous love affair.
Director John Madden introduces Ethan Frome not with narration, but with insight into the lifestyle and routine of our main character. Though Ethan works long hours, Madden gives us the feeling his hardship is rewarded only with sustenance. Likewise, Ethan’s demeanor as he drudgingly heads off to work is unmotivated; his walk lacks spring and his drooping posture conveys boredom. Nevertheless, Ethan strictly follows this painstaking routine for an...