Author(s): Connor Campbell
Directed by Spike Jonze
Screenplay by Andrew Niccol
Melinda Dillon- Justine Redford
Meryl Streep- M.J. Mullins
Freddie Highmore- Charlie Powers
Tagline: "A book inside a book inside a book inside a movie"
Justine Redford is one of the most highly regarded authors of our time. Her books such as “Reflected Glory” or “Because It Isn’t Snowing” have sold millions of copies and have been adapted into award winning films. Her next project, “The Magician”, is the fictionalized biography of hit children’s novelist M.J. Mullins, author of the “Youngblood” series. Justine has only met M.J. once the year before when they were presented with the same award. M.J. spoke of her childhood and how far she had come to reach that spot in her acceptance speech, and Justine had to write about it. That’s the way she works. She got the idea for “Because It Isn’t Snowing” when she saw a child in a park whining to his mother about how he wanted to play in the snow in the middle of June. She immediately ran home and typed. Justine feels like she’s racing herself and has to finish the book as soon as possible. She’s getting old and losing her talent. This will likely be her last book. She’s very old and her style isn’t appreciated as much as it used to be. “The Magician” needs to be her greatest and most powerful book. She has to talk to Mullins as soon as possible.
M.J. Mullins is one of the most highly regarded authors of our time. Her books in the “Youngblood” series have sold millions of copies and have been adapted into award winning films. Her next project, “Powers”, is about a boy named Charlie Powers who writes stories that come true. She can’t finish it though. She is absolutely certain that it will never amount to what the Youngblood series was. It can’t be a children’s book, but children need to be able to read it. She’s challenging herself with too much. And now, author Justine Redford whom she had met at an award’s show or a benefit or something like that wanted to write a book “loosely” based on her. About her history of being abused by her stepfather and being poor. The only problem was none of that ever happened. She was born Alexis Trent in Los Angeles to a wealthy family that she abandoned when she was 16. She changed her name to M.J. and enrolled in writing classes in New York. She would have to lie to this poor old woman trying to write her masterpiece. She had to finish “Powers” as soon as possible.
Charlie Powers is a very talented young boy. He loves to write stories. But Charlie is also very odd. He would always ask his mother to play in the snow, even in the summer. And he would run around at recess and whisper erotic and inappropriate things in people’s ears. But recently, his stories have been getting strange, and he is certain that they are coming true. He never knew what he was writing until he finished and soon enough, his stories would play out in the real world. Getting increasingly frightened by his stories, he sat down and thought of what to write. He wrote about a woman. An old woman. An old woman who writes, just like he does. But the old woman is dying. She isn’t sick, she’s just dying. She’s starting to lose her memory and her talent. The old woman wants to write one last book before she dies. It will be her masterpiece. It’ll be about a woman she had met once who had told a beautiful lie that the old woman didn’t believe for a second. “The Magician” she’d call it. But what would the old woman’s name be? Justine. Justine is the perfect name.
What the Press would say:
“Book” is a story about intelligence, writing, and accepting the inevitable. There are 3 writers. The first (Melinda Dillon) is an old woman trying to write her last masterpiece. The second (Meryl Streep) is a woman trying to follow up her masterpiece while facing her past. The third (Freddie Highmore) is beginning his first masterpiece. The beauty of Andrew Niccol’s screenplay is unparalleled. The three writers intertwine beautifully and they keep you guessing who’s real and who isn’t. Melinda Dillon is the comeback of the year with her mesmerizing performance as “Justine Redford”, a dying woman trying to write her last masterpiece. She plays Justine with such elegance and grace as opposed to overplaying it. She’s just a woman staring death in the eye fighting for her talent and her life. Meryl Streep is perfect as always playing “M.J. Mullins” loosely based on J.K. Rowling. This character is very guarded and mysterious until we discover her secret. Streep captures the fear and anxiety of a woman living in a lie so perfectly. Freddie Highmore is a wonderful addition to the cast playing “Charlie Powers” a young boy whose stories come true. His character is very eccentric which Highmore captures brilliantly. Spike Jonze has once again taken a beautiful screenplay and transformed it into a beautiful film keeping us scratching our heads and asking ourselves “What’s real?” The beauty and overall brilliance of this film is something that can’t be missed. ****/****
Best Director- Spike Jonze
Best Actress- Melinda Dillon
Best Supporting Actress- Meryl Streep
Best Supporting Actor- Freddie Highmore
Best Original Screenplay- Andrew Niccol