In Defense of Peter Jackson- Part 2 - Why Faramir needed to change
Jackson had the right idea when he decided to have this movie
<< raise the stakes >>
for all the characters. For Frodo and Sam, the key to raising the stakes is Faramir. By having Faramir take Frodo back to Osgiliath, away from the goal of Mount Doom, Jackson helps the audience see how frantically Frodo understands his mission (
<< The Ring will not save Gondor. . . . Please, you must let me go! >>
). Also he shows what a heavy burden the Ring is (
<< I can't do this, Sam >>
) and how it drives Frodo to despair (
<< what have we got left? >>
) setting the scene for Sam's insights on pushing forward. None of this would have carried any impact had not Faramir taken Frodo to Osgiliath.
By adjusting Faramir's character to reveal Frodo's growing struggle Jackson did not change Faramir as drastically as some decry. In fact, he actually strengthened the character for portrayal on screen. Tolkien's Faramir is evidently a brave warrior. However, readers of the book see mainly his gentle poetic side. His courtesy towards Frodo is a heartwarming relief. However, translated directly to film, this portrayal of Faramir would appear effeminate and weak. Set alongside the masculine valor of Aragorn and Eomer as well as the steeled strength of Eowyn, the son of Gondor would possibly earn the contempt of the audience instead of their respect. Jackson's alteration allows Faramir to appear every bit as strong and masculine as Aragorn, Eomer, Boromir and all his
other male counterparts.
Some have complained that by allowing the Ring to tempt Faramir, Jackson has lessened his virtue. However, it is not his virtue; but his understanding of the Ring that is somewhat diminished. In the book, Faramir knows how utterly evil the Ring is. In the movie, he only knows it is powerful and it will give Sauron complete dominion if he ever retrieves it. The other alterations actually depend upon Faramirs ability to trust Frodo.