83

indieWIRE

The film seems to have been made to suggest something of Faulkner's style in a cinematic medium, and it's certainly laudable that there have been very few concessions to the marketability of a project like this.
Full Review
70

The Hollywood Reporter

By Todd McCarthy
Franco, employing diverse cinematic techniques from split screen (mostly early on) to direct-to-camera address, makes the Bundrens’ time of trial more immediately coherent than it is on the page without disrespecting Faulkner’s oblique style.
Full Review
70

The New York Times

By A.O. Scott
In rushing in where wise men might fear to tread, Mr. Franco has accomplished something serious and worthwhile. His As I Lay Dying is certainly ambitious, but it is also admirably modest.
Full Review
63

Slant Magazine

James Franco's readiness in approaching famously abstract source material certainly doesn't translate well into his directorial formalism, or, more appropriately, lack of formalism.
Full Review
60

The Guardian

By Peter Bradshaw
Franco's As I Lay Dying is a worthwhile movie, approached in an intelligent and creative spirit. The ensemble work from the actors is generally very strong, with a star turn from Nelson as the prematurely aged patriarch, and the story is presented lucidly and confidently.
Full Review
60

Variety

By Leslie Felperin
Franco offers up a competently acted, technically adequate Cliff Notes take on Faulkner’s narratively refracted tale of dirt-poor Mississippi folk in mourning.
Full Review
50

The Playlist

By Kevin Jagernauth
As I Lay Dying is another Franco lark that is more of an experiment with form than a fully realized movie. One almost gets the sense that Franco is working out ideas with As I Lay Dying, with the goal of creating a cohesive film as a secondary ambition to simply capturing the feel of Faulkner's prose.
Full Review
40

The Dissolve

By Sam Adams
Putting Faulkner’s dialogue in actors’ mouths only underlines the fact that it was never meant to be read aloud, and simply cutting between one perspective and the next does nothing to evoke the rushing stream of collective consciousness that runs through Faulkner’s South.
Full Review
40

New York Daily News

By Elizabeth Weitzman
Alas, the split-screen compositions, slow-motion effects, pensive closeups and prosthetic teeth can’t distract from what’s missing: Faulkner’s pointed but deeply buried observations of the human condition.
Full Review
40

Village Voice

By Chris Packham
Franco adapted a book that often reads like joyless homework into a film that feels the same way.
Full Review
50 out of 100
Mixed or average reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.