Other Voices Other Rooms
Time Out saysTruman Capote's broadly autobiographical first novel reads like a Gothic cross between Great Expectations and Tennessee Williams. In 1938, 13-year-old Joel (Speck) is recalled to a crumbling Deep Southern manse by his father, from whom he has been separated for ten years; there he finds a morbid, effete household languishing in sufferings of the heart or mind, and is denied access to his 'sick' father, mysteriously secreted upstairs. A rites of passage tale of deep psycho-sexual import follows, and debut director Rocksavage, ably assisted by his costume and production designers and cinematographer, has done well in suggesting the almost opiate atmosphere of faded grandeur, outmoded gentlemanly etiquette and otiose regret that suffuses this lonesome house of secrets and compromised nostalgia. The casting seems perfect, too. But something is missing. The script has room for other voices but finds no place for all the symbolic tales and cautionary histories that, in the novel, fill the boy's head and give poignant context to the story's revelations. In moving away from the adolescent's point of view, Rocksavage reduces a ghost-ridden flight of the mind into a claustrophobic chamber piece.