I am a fan of the book 11.22.63, and I was pretty excited to hear about an adaptation being made into a mini-series. My excitement only continued to grow when I learned that JJ Abrams was attached. That being said, when I sat down to watch it, I had some high hopes going in. At first, my hopes were kind of dwindled. Upon starting the show, I thought that maybe Franco was not the best choice to play Jake Epping. As I continued watching, I noticed that it wasn’t Franco, but rather that the show itself felt rushed during the beginning. However, to my viewing pleasure, once Franco totally commits to going back to the 60s (and he shaves that ridiculous goatee) the show really starts to come together. Let’s not forget the fact that turning an 860 page book into an 8 hour mini series is incredibly hard.
11.22.63 travels in a much more narrow direction, sending Jake Epping (James Franco) to the year 1960 with one goal in mind, to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. History books tell us that Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for his death, but nobody is certain whether Oswald was acting alone, or if he is even the one who pulled the trigger. Stephen King, whose novel the show is adapted from, puts this historical hypothesis into question, while bringing to light other theories about what really happened on that day.
Franco is joined on-screen by Canadian actress and rising star Sarah Gadon (Sadie Dunhill) as Jake Epping’s love interest, whom I’ve been a huge fan of since seeing her in Enemy (2013), one of my all-time favorite movies that I probably talk about way too much. Gadon plays her role perfectly, showcasing a peachy Southern accent that could make any guy fall in love with her. Matched with a script that leaves a lasting impression on you, Franco and Gadon make the 60s look sublime, except for the racism, medical practices, phone booth struggles, and many other time-travel challenges that the show comments on as well.
I’m a sucker for thoughtful films with beautiful women and well-dressed gentlemen, so 11.22.63 takes the cake. I was absolutely hooked. The one season, Hulu mini-series drops a big “what if” in the premiere, and then proceeds to answer it in the remaining seven episodes. “If you could alter the outcome of one major event in history, which would it be?” My pick for the best episode of the series is episode 3, but nothing takes your breath away quite like the finale. Go check it out before I spoil it for you.