I don’t usually write any kind of reviews for movies or other media, but I had to sit and get this out of my system before I implode.
My mom and I just finished watching The Raven, the new movie with John Cusack portraying Edgar A. Poe. I just…I don’t understand what went through the screen-writer’s head or the director’s head, or anyone’s head who was involved with this project. This movie is a disgrace for any lover of literature and Poe fanatics, like I am, in particular.
Since when do we have to turn our historical figures into practically action figures for them to be fascinating? Why is Poe’s real life, the one we know about, that has been documented, not good enough? Why does there have to be a crazy, Da Vinci Code style run-around for anyone to pay attention to his works? It’s frustrating and saddening to think that one of this country’s greatest writers is reduced to a few lines in a movie that has basically nothing to do with him more than Cusack using his name.
There are so many historical inaccuracies. Language choices that are bizarre, with words that were not in use in the 1800s and with Poe cursing as if he really were a madman, when the majority of real sources depict him as almost shy in speech. Cusack portrays him like a psychotic wash-out who couldn’t write another word unless the love of his life is in danger and depending on his stories to save her life. And who is this love? Not Virginia. Oh, no, that would be too accurate for this movie. No. The most that is mentioned of Virginia is about thirty seconds somewhere in the middle of the movie, giving no sense of the fascinating relationship they actually had. They just mentioned she was his wife and she died. Well, la-dee-da, she’s just a footnote on his search for a madman who has his real love, Miss Hamilton, in his clutches.
I just don’t understand what the point of this movie was. I really thought it would have more about his life, about Muddy and Virginia, about anything that was factual. About ten minutes into the movie, I really would have taken anything, any bit of history, but it was practically nonexistent.
All of this to say that if you are a fan of Poe, if you revere writers in general and would feel offended, as I felt, by the use of his name and works for cheap entertainment, then stay as far away from this nonsense as possible.