A great piece of fiction, for me, is gauged by how effectively it devastates. This not only comprises of story and character, but how the piece speaks to the human condition, the bonds between persons, the metaphysical and existential questions surrounding existence. And, of course, prose.
Cormac McCarthy's The Road cuts to the quick. Dark, harrowing, unrelenting in its grief and hope. I read it right after my daughter's birth, in two days, often with her curled up asleep on my lap. This book is very much a love-story.
A great director like John Hillcoat (his The Proposition is a must-see) ensures a certain loyalty to the source material, and a refusal to engage in the sentimental. The cast is immense and capable, the few trailers I have seen look rightfully grim. But what no director can capture, especially in the context of a writer like McCarthy, is the texture that comes from prose.
Nonetheless, I'll be damned if I don't see this film half a dozen times before the year is up---just to be sure.