This movie is a perfect example of one of the worst things that can be done when a book is turned into a movie. Basically, the only things that made it from the book to the movie are the title, the characters, and some of the initial set-up for the story. Major plot points were changed, such as the setting of the book in Romania instead of the US with Vivian not attending high school. Although the book isn’t purely high school drama, this was a large component of the book totally missing from the movie. Most importantly, the ending and Vivian’s character were both very different. Instead of a sensual being pursuing the boy she likes, she’s very nervous about starting a relationship with him. For me, that completely changed the feel of her character. And of course, changing the ending completely changed the point of the book. The casting of the characters and the beautiful Romanian scenery were really the only things it had going for it. It was ok as a movie, but it didn’t have anywhere near the impact it could have had if it had just stuck to the book.
I don’t usually see movies in theaters, but I loved this book enough that I’ve been anxiously counting the days until I could go see Anna Karenina. Amazingly, this movie was better than I had dared imagine it would be. Initially, I wasn’t so sure. The movie is in many ways made to look like a play. There are occasional repetitive little dance numbers used to establish a bureaucratic atmosphere. There are interesting scene changes, where people roll furniture on screen or a character walks through a door and into a new scene entirely. And there are a ton of artsy effects. It was something I would have expected much more in a play then in a movie. But it worked! The use of artistic effects to convey emotions and let you into the character’s heads was incredibly well done. Continue reading
This isn’t something I say very often, but… I think this story was actually better as a movie than as a book! Like Eat, Pray, Love, the ending was changed a little for extra movie drama, but with that exception the book was followed pretty faithfully. I loved that the narration included direct quotes from the book! In my ideal world, every movie based on a book would be exactly like watching the book come to life and the direct quotes captured that feeling. I also have a soft spot for movies with funny narrators. The casting was great as well. Any characters that weren’t exactly as I pictured them, were even better then I imagined. Continue reading
At the beginning, I was really impressed with this movie. The casting was great – and I don’t just say that because I love Julia Roberts. She was a great choice to capture the author’s self-deprecating sense of humor, but all the other actors were well-chosen too. The movie has a much greater appeal as a travel memoir because of the beautiful scenery. And the movie did an amazing job wordlessly conveying feelings like the author’s love of Italian food and the potential for romance with her Italian tutor. Continue reading
I think I must be going soft in my old age, because The Help is the second book-to-movie adaptation I’ve seen recently and had no real complaints about. Of course there were the small changes that always come with such adaptations, little things left out to make the story shorter and easier to follow. But there were no major plot points that I felt should have been included and the feel of the book was preserved beautifully.
One major change I expected was the way in which the story was told, since in the book the story is mostly narrated by the characters. Fortunately, there actually was a lot of narration by the characters much of which came straight from the book. The dialogue was also very true to the original. In both cases, I really appreciated the direct use of quotes because the narration and the dialogue in the book were just so good!
The casting was also done very well.. Getting to see everyone from the book at least very close to how I pictured them was great. One of my favorites was actually Celia Foote, who’s personality came across clearly from our very first glimpse of her. And while there were a few characters whose appearance didn’t exactly match my mental image, their acting was always spot on. This is one case were the book was so good I was sure the movie wouldn’t live up to it, but they were actually very similar experiences. I think you could probably read and watch in either order without taking away from either. And I would definitely suggest doing both 🙂
See my review of the book here.
First, a promise: I hear-by solemnly swear to keep this review brief and spoiler-less 🙂 Since I had a test Friday, I wasn’t able to make the opening showing of The Hunger Games and I’ve been very carefully screening the blog posts I read to avoid spoilers myself! I managed that well enough that I had no idea how optimistic to be going into the movie, but let me tell you – this is actually one of the first book-to-movie adaptions I’ve ever left without being able to think of any major plot points they left out. It was phenomenal. I loved the casting; everyone was great, just as I pictured them! Actually, that’s not quite true. Haymitch and Cinna were even better that I imagined. And as I said, they stayed very true to the plot. They toned down the violence a lot, mostly by using close-up enough shots that everything happening just seemed chaotic, and this sometimes gave scenes a slightly different feel than in the book. But honestly, I appreciated that. Going in to the movie, I was actually worried that graphic violence might prevent me from enjoying, although obviously as a PG-13 movie it could only be so bad. Anyway, that’s the only change I really noticed, so I would have to agree with Parajunkee’s earlier review – this is one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen.