I read Barnes’ novel a few years ago as part of our book club’s goal to work through slightly more literary publications by reading through Booker Prize winners my (mildly naive in retrospect) review can be found here.
It was with some delight an interest that I stumbled across a movie poster this year of the film. I’m not usually one for thinking films, beyond blockbusters that put a bit of effort into their stories, BUT I was certainly willing to make the exception for this one.
So how was it?
Personally I found the film to be enjoyable, faithful and overall appropriately adapted for the screen. I see that other reviewers have not been kind to this film, but many appear to have disliked the source material, I guess when a film is faithful to a book its unlikely to win over those who disliked the written piece.
The film handled flashbacks well, as the original story dealt heavily with the past and recollections of, and this can often be bungled and boring in films, I though the movie balanced the ‘present’ with the past with skill.
There seemed to be more humour in the film than the book which I felt was an appropriate touch, if my recollection is correct overall the book was much more monotone, more myopic in its conclusions, especially around the MC Tony Webster, who again if my recollection is correct was more portrayed in the book as an ‘asshole-then-AND-now’ whereas the movie portrayed him as growing in wisdom and compassion in his older age and reconnecting with his family in a touching was. This brings me to one minor complaint, where I felt that ‘old’ Tony’s pushover status was laid on a little thick.
One final part I particularly appreciated was an emphasis on the ‘wave’. This scene in the book perplexed our book club for years as we tried to work out what sort of wave the girlfriend’s mother gave Tony. Not that movie adaptations dictate exactly how a book should be interpreted, but we all enjoyed seeing the wave visually (our theories ranged fro m a wave intended to be hidden from the rest of the family, to a sort of fanning of heated loins…)
Overall I really enjoyed the film, and thoroughly recommend it, along with Barnes’ book itself.