Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) Poster

A visiting city reporter's assignment suddenly revolves around the murder trial of a local millionaire, whom he befriends.


6.6/10
36,400


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  • Clint Eastwood and Ashley Judd at an event for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
  • Joan Cusack at an event for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
  • Jude Law and Kevin Spacey in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
  • John Cusack and Paul Hipp at an event for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
  • Alison Eastwood at an event for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver at an event for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

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Reviews & Commentary

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4 March 1999 | lisado
6
| Read the Book, See the Movie...
Definitely in that order. It increases comprehension. In fact, from reading some of the other reviews here, it may be the only way to enjoy this movie.

A great read; a better-than-I-expected screen adaptation. I had to see it, because I couldn't imagine how such a character-driven work would be handled on film. I will tell you that I was predisposed to think that it would not be handled well, but I was pleasantly surprised.

All in all, this movie manages to do a good job of condensing the book into a non-butt-busting film length, while remaining generally faithful to it. The length and the slowness of the movie are really the only ways to convey the meanderings of the book. It's part of the way this movie creates the slow Southern atmosphere that is such an integral part of the story. Savannah is a character in the book, and the only unifying force other than the author. It's easier to convey that in words than pictures, but Eastwood has done a good job of getting the point across here.

The casting is mostly great, particularly the supporting characters. Irma P. Hall's portrayal of Minerva is somehow soothing and slightly menacing, just as the woman seems in the book. I didn't know how the casting of the actual Chablis would affect the film, but she really delivers the goods without seeming like stunt casting.

I was irritated by what I felt were John's and Chablis' too-active roles in the court case, but I suppose I can understand the reasoning behind it. I don't have to like it, but I understand it. Just as irritating, and entirely disposable, was the romantic subplot. These two elements seemed out of the role of observer that Berendt makes for himself the book. Also, the Mandy character is sapped by taking a big, beautiful, interesting woman and making her a generic cute chick. Alison Eastwood does what she can with this bland creation, but I have a feeling that the movie character never would have been featured the book.

No, it's not the book, but no movie ever could be. A slavish adaptation would have been a truly boring film, not to mention way longer than this effort. (Can you say, "Just rent the AudioBook?") And no, it's not a twisting, turning thrill-ride, because the book isn't exactly jam-packed with plot. It is, however, a decent movie if viewed on its own terms and for its own merits. And after you've read the book.

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,233,658 23 November 1997

Gross USA:

$25,105,255

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,105,255

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