Based off the dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury, this HBO film is an adaptation that had a lot to live up to. Although I wasn’t forced to read this book in 7th grade English class like most people my age, I was still excited to see how they were going to take this classic book and paint it across a screen. While this film was butchered by critics and lovers of the original print, I found it to be relevant, entertaining and unique.
Guy Montag (Micheal B. Jordan) is a “firefighter” in the distant future who begins to question his position – to burn and destroy any piece of literature he can find. This story takes place after several World Wars where the government has decided that instead of allowing people to have two points of view to pick from, they should only have one “or better yet, none.” This is done by censoring books and destroying knowledge so that there is only one way to think, and in that way of thinking, it is considered “happiness.” Montag becomes disillusioned with this world that he has fought so hard to uphold and decides to make his own choices.
While watching this movie, I found it eery to how a novel, written in 1953, could be so ahead of its time. The film adaptation also incorporated giant social media-like screens, “Alexa”-esque in-home bots and other present day technologies that could soon encapsulate the world we live, making this plot even more relatable. I think it is important to draw these parallels and see a future that could happen if we don’t learn from our past, which is also a narrative in this movie. If we can’t read about where we have been, how can we make sure history doesn’t repeat itself?
Like I said, unfortunately, this film didn’t receive the best reviews but being the movie lover that I am, I appreciated HBO’s adaption and thought it was well-done. If you are interested in watching it or have read the book, I recommend giving it a shot! I’d love to hear what someone who read the book first thinks of the movie. Let me know in the comments below!
Fahrenheit 451 is only on HBO.