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Yes. This movie is based off of Jack Kerouac’s book, On the Road, and, before I continue, I have to clarify how much of a fan I am of Kerouac. I first studied him in 2010. I read The Dharma Burns, Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Visions of Cody, Maggie Cassidy, The Subterraneans, and Dr. Sax–all under Ken Irby’s poetic eye–and I’ve been in envy of Kerouac’s philosophic and honest writing ever since. (If you’re interested, here’s a list of how to write prose like Kerouac himself.)
But–back to the movie.
I’ve been trying to get my hands on this Brazilian-French drama ever since it premiered in competition for the Palme d’Or in May, 2012, but I couldn’t–for the life of me–find it anywhere. Maybe it was just my experience, but it never came to theaters here (Kansas main theaters), and stores seem to always have to order it from somewhere else. However, after watching it, I think I know why.
On the Road is very controversial. If you don’t understand The Beat Generation (writers in the 1950’s who experimented with drugs and sex) I could see why the movie would come across as a giant party, rather than something truly challenging and real. In fact, many don’t even realize that On the Road is based on a true story, something that happened to Kerouac and his friend, Neal Cassady. I think these facts are really essential to seeing (and feeling) what the movie is truly about. But, nevertheless, my friend (who hasn’t read the book, but did have me to explain some things) loved it, and I did too.
It was a beautiful adaptation of a such a striking traveler’s (and coming of age) tale. In the novel, Kerouac’s ability to discuss self-discovery within culture is magnificent–and so is the movie’s. Walter Salles did a wonderful job directing this film.
I really recommend both the book and the movie. (Book first, preferably, but it’s up to you.) It’s a great way to start the weekend. And, if you’re looking for a trip to take this summer, consider traveling On the Road (his map is available below) with Kerouac’s writing to guide the way.
Watch the trailer for the On the Road movie here.
March 31: Writing Tips: Different Perspectives