Watched Jun 06, 2012
A really beautiful documentary about the power of reading a novel, that can forever change your life. My only quibble is that the filmmaker takes his time getting to the author himself, and has the tendency to focus on how this novel moved him. But there are scenes involving libraries, archives, bookstores... that just totally work for me since I love visiting those places for leisure. Minor issue aside, I realize that it probably took a long time to track down the author and certainly the interviews with other subjects are pretty compelling the whole way through. I just was growing a bit eager and this 2-hour film might've been even stronger had it been 100 minutes. Restlessness aside, once we get to the last act, I was intensely moved once we learn what happened to the author and get to hear his story.
If there ever were a more pure story about why we gravitate towards storytelling in novel-form, I haven't seen it and The Stone Reader is an essential watch for writers and avid book-lovers. Some of it is quite melancholy, with a very Eno-esque score accompanied by acoustic guitar (the kind I like). Ultimately it really is about something we can all relate to in one or another: why we become intensely connected to artistic expression, especially when it captures our imagination through the written, printed word. And there are final moments involving a child holding a book that speak volumes about the importance of reading, and passing on that joyful, essential experience to future generations.