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My weekend reviews

z_for_zachariahFriday night–When Robert C. O’Brien’s 1975 YA Z for Zachariah made it onto the silver screen forty years later, you’d think its post-apocalyptic setting and sturdy heroine would have been enough to give it currency but NO: the famous two-hander is now a lurve triangle, and–spoiler alert–the attempted rape, so controversial in its time, is glossed over in favor of a passionate coupling with the rebooted James T. Kirk. Still, the performances are great as is the score, even if the whole thing is way too quiet to compete with Insurgent.





PhoenixSaturday night–Phoenix is a grownup movie, and a very good one. It’s a triangle of a different sort–a concentration survivor who had been presumed dead, the woman who tries to save her from herself, and Johnny, the feckless husband the survivor had left behind in Berlin. Juicy and moody, with another great score consisting almost entirely of Kurt Weill’s “Speak Low” in probably the best use of a song in the movies since The Man Who Knew Too Much. And I WON’T spoil the fabulous ending here; I’ll just say that Chekhov was both right and wrong about that loaded gun.


Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. I know it hasn’t been critically accepted, but liked the changes from the book to the movie made in this case. The acting was top-notch. If you enjoy character driven stories stuck in the middle of a dystopian setting, you’ll enjoy Z for Zachariah

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