I finally saw The Road this morning, which I had been anticipating for a long time now. I'm not supposed to write too much about the film until the release date gets closer (it is due in theaters Nov. 25) but I will say this: Any film adaptation of The Road lives or dies by the ending. Whatever other details you change, you simply must duplicate the amazing emotional feat Cormac McCarthy pulls off at the end of the novel, or else you're left with a pointless, depressing film.
And despite the movie's flaws, director John Hillcoat nails the ending so well I was fidgeting in my seat, trying hard not to blubber so other critics wouldn't make fun of me. The publicist who handled the screening did not fare as well: She was in all-out sob mode by the time she emerged from the theater.
I can see why some critics dismissed The Road after it screened at Toronto and Telluride last month. This is not the kind of movie that would fare well when viewed during the exhausting crunch of a film festival. I don't agree with that over-the-top rave that ran in Esquire in May, either. But that ending is going to stay with me for a while, just like the book did. I'll be writing a lot more about The Road next month.