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By Megan Bianco
Craig Zobel’s and Nissar Modi’s adaptation of Robert C. O’Brien’s classic novel Z for Zachariah comes right at the end of summer. The film has raised some eyebrows from the book’s fans as it is apparently hardly anything like the original plot, and includes a third main character.
In a post-apocalyptic society, Ann Burden (Margot Robbie) discovers another living being in the form of scientist John Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Together they discover resources to not only survive, but to help repopulate the planet. Just as the two are discovering they are attracted to one another, a third person shows up, Caleb (Chris Pine). Ann sees him as a new friend and help, while John is less trustworthy.
Screenwriter Modi chooses to create not only a love triangle, but also a faith versus science theme with John being the practical one opposite Ann’s and Caleb’s spirituality. In the novel, Ann is a 16-year-old girl, while Robbie doesn’t look a day under her 25 years of age. In some scenes this is obvious by Ann’s overt naivety, but for the most part, Robbie does well as the girl between two men and rebuilding the planet. Despite the movie stars, director Zobel sets a very unglamorously slow and calm environment for the performances to naturally evolve. Book fans may or may not like the new take on the tale, but it might be a good fit for those who are interested in a good character study with a tiny, talented cast.