Friday, December 4, 2009

Movie Review: The Reading Room

Imagine Darth Vader as a librarian!

Well, not quite Darth Vader and not quite a librarian, but James Earl Jones--the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies--plays William Campbell, a retired widower in this low-budget, but heart warming film. On her deathbed, Campbell's wife instructed him to take the books from the beautiful library in their mansion and open a reading room in a store front they owned in a rundown neighborhood.

While the dialogue can seem a bit contrived at times, the scenes seem to cover the range of issues facing rundown neighborhoods. Soon after William opens the reading room, the computer is stolen. William offers to hire the thief as a security guard and not press charges as long as he shows up to work.

One 7-year-old girl seeking help with her reading is forbidden by her mother to come to the reading room because the girl is needed to babysit her younger brother. A high school student comes looking for an SAT study guide, but refuses to take it home because he knows he will be hassled for trying to attend college. This movie reminds me of what the public library offers at our best.

A book on a related theme that you might enjoy is:

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