I can see why some things may be confusing or bad about this movie, but it wasn't too bad.
As I Lay Dying tells the story of the Bundren family preparing for Addie Bundren, played by Beth Grant, to die. Anse Bundren, played by Tim Blake Nelson, motions the family to go to Jefferson, the place where Addie Bundren came from, in order to fulfill their mother's wish.
As I Lay Dying was a work that William Faulkner declared was a tour-de-force, in the sense that it would require countless revisions to finally produce a work of such caliber. The novel uses a grand amount of narrators from which the story takes place, driving the narrator to take in so many narrators to paint out the puzzle of the story.
James Franco, both the director and the actor that plays Darl Bundren, sought out to do the exact same thing, converting the novel into a film.
As a reader, I do appreciate the use of the many symbols that the novel has translated into the movie. All of the quotes that spell directly verbatim into the movie caused me to feel a sense of nostalgia when I was first reading the novel.
However, as a movie-goer, I did see that there were many instances where some things did not correlate or I was expecting something more. For example, the buzzards were not as exaggerated as I thought they were. We did get some close ups of buzzards, but I felt that the buzzards were much bigger of a symbol than other things in the movie were.
Also, I felt like the very last line of the movie should have been a bit more powerful than it was delivered. There were so many powerful things that happened at the end of the movie only to be cut off by this need of more power at the very end.
The balance between the beginning and the end was a little off. I think that more power could have been given towards the beginning.
Furthermore, the split screen was effective in portraying the difference in perspective of each person, but it was not effective because it was too much visually to take on. I know that some things about the split screen were clear, but a lot of the split screen kind of took away from what was really going on.
In all, As I Lay Dying was not a bad movie, but it could have been a bit more clearer to movie-goers out there. If you really want to tackle on the story behind the movie, just read the novel. Make sure to read the novel then watch the movie.