Okay, it might feel slow and it can seem dull, but this movie has a heart and soul like almost no other. Life in a pre-Civil Rights Era, deep South town is not exactly an amusement park experience. Children live in the moment, and that's where perspective resides in this story. It's only later that meaning, lessons, and heartache are really processed (narrator provides the nostalgic adult view). Scout is self absorbed like children are, her older brother Jem longs for manhood, and every adult in town seems to realize their father, Atticus Finch, is a uniquely dedicated man. Story is immensely simple, echoing languid mood of a small town, pre-television, pre-suburban isolation, and very much in the midst of ignorance and prejudice. Racism is the issue that stands out in the end, but story is more an exploration of a time and place that most of us will never--and might never hope to--know. What action exists is observed by a mysterious neighbor and a stoic dad (who just might be the good guys). Don't be fooled by the pace; there are joys and hopes to be found in this small Alabama town.
Collector's Edition DVD includes Fearful Symmetry, a wonderfully illuminating documentary about the making of the film and the basis for its story and characters. It starts slow but the messages (some rathy wordy) are poignant. Narration includes many quotes from the book, details that are left out of the movie in effort to translate to screen. For anyone unsure of the value of movie and its story, this feature-length documentary is a wonderful introduction or alternative.