Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Does Action Speak Louder Than Words?

There's always that question lingering in the back of my mind when I see that a book is going to be made into a movie. How will it fare when the written word is translated into actions, mannerisms, behaviors? Can actors and actresses pull off the characters? Will the depth of the story be conveyed as well on the silver screen as it is between the pages? Or vice versa? Would the movie better serve the story ran the written word?

Here are a few that I have both read the book and seen the movie-
Dolores Claiborne
I don't remember whether I read the book first or saw the movie, but what I do know is that I feel this was handled well. The touchy subject matter of the story plays out onscreen with real raw emotion and Kathy Bates just happens to be one of those actresses who I seldom thing about, but then I watch a movie with her in it and remember all over again how wonderful she is and how well she adapts to the roles she takes on. Her portrayal of Dolores made the story believable just as easily as reading Stephen's words on the page. Either way, my heart ached for her and her daughter and for the pain that the past caused them both. My favorite line in that movie? Probably every woman's favorite line-

"Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman's got to hold on to."
Dances with WolvesI do remember reading this book before I saw the movie. A friend loaned me a copy they had borrowed from a friend of theirs and I read it within just a few days, completely mesmerized by the western frontier, the strange bond between Dunbar and Two Socks and the Sioux, the romance with Stands with a Fist. Before I ever saw the movie, I shed tears too many to count for the struggles in the story. I love the movie just as much now as I did the first time I saw it and thought that Kevin Costner did the author proud in representing what the story was about.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Persuasion, I read after I saw the movie staring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, but I found that they too are quite companionable. I will always love Captain Wentworth and his letter to Anne Elliot and the idea that true love really does live on, even when we are apart from the one we love the most.

"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago. Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant."
For me- the worst offender-

Flowers in the Attic

I loved V.C. Andrews novels when I was growing up. I discovered them when I was around 13 or so and I loved the wonderful detail. She was a very talented author, who wove words in a way that put you right in that moment, right there with the characters and made you feel every joy and pain they endured. The book, by all means was more graphic in detail in these "children in jeopardy" sagas, so really, it wasn't any wonder when I accidentally came across the movie, staring pre-Buffy Kristy Swanson as Cathy. I had been devouring every V.C. Andrews novel I could get my hands on for a while and I was excited about the fact that there was a movie, but when I finally watched it, I was devastated that so much had been left out, but also that the movie was not made to be a continuing story, as the books were. I understand why so much was removed, as this story does carry a very weighted storyline, but what saddened me more was that V.C. Andrews herself had say in the production and she had a small cameo as a window washing maid of Foxworth Hall. It fell far short of my hopes for it as no other book-to-movie ever has.What's your favorite book-to-movie adaptation? Do you have a pick for YOUR worst? Have you ever seen a movie that was actually BETTER than its book? I would love to hear about it.

Happy Hump Day!
I can see the weekend from here!


Maddie James said...

Loved V.C. Andrews too as a young adult. They don't make 'em like that anymore! Hm. I might have to go dust off my old copies....

Taryn Raye said...

I do that from time to time myself! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Teresa Reasor said...

I recently watched a movie made from the book James Paterson co-wrote with someone titled Sunday's at Tiffany's.

The movie was so watered down even the conflict didn't come through and though the book was written as a YA I enjoyed it.

Don't know why they insist on changing things in the story line.

Then there's the Time Traveler's Wife. The book was good, the movie would have sucked if it hadn't had Eric Bana in it. They had completely taken out the entire plot.

But The Help was actually pretty close to the book and I really enjoyed it.

I enjoy your blog Taryn.
Teresa R.

Taryn Raye said...

Thanks for the comment Teresa and for stopping by. Glad you enjoy visiting my blog.

I hate when a book's story and very essence gets mangled in movie production.

I haven't seen any of those yet, but I am planning to read The Help before I watch the movie. I had a feeling they did it pretty well though.

Jennifer Johnson said...

great topic! Loved the Stuart Little movie. HATED the book. That's right. I said I hated by something by E.B White. Big Fish? LOVED the movie. Hated the book. The Help? Loved the book AND the movie. I also read Flowers in the Attic and must have loved it as I read the whole series. I saw the movie but can't remember now how I liked it.

Janie Emaus said...

The worst adaption ever was A HANDMAID'S TALE. I loved that book.

Taryn Raye said...

Thanks Jennifer and Janie for stopping by.

Funny, I did read Stuart Little to my kids, but now that I think about it, it seemed the story just sort of ended odd. The movie was cute!

I never read Big Fish, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE that movie!

Janie, not sure I've ever heard of A Handmaid's Tale, but I'll take your word for that one! ;)