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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Dare I Attempt Three For Three?

I can't remember the last time I thoroughly enjoyed back-to-back movie adaptations of books I've also enjoyed. When was the last time this happened for you?

On the face of it, of the two recent films, "The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared" - based on Jonas Jonasson's delightful 2009 novel - would seem to have a more inherently cinematic plot. It's basically a wacky road trip featuring the eponymous man - along with three eccentric companions (if you don't include Sonja, the elephant) - running from some dimwitted goons. But aside from admirably handling the substantial comedic elements of the novel, the filmmakers also did a great job relating the twisted backstory of the 100 year old's eventful life, sort of like Forrest Gump if Forrest had been a demolitions expert. And, I loved the film being mostly in Jonasson's native tongue - Swedish. Be advised: Ingmar Bergman this ain't.

I approached the adaptation of Colm Toibin's masterful novel "Brooklyn" with more trepidation, primarily because the novel is exceedingly quiet. But Nick Hornby's sensitive screenplay and Saoirise Ronan's nuanced performance as Eilis Lacey quickly won me over. I was especially moved by the scene from the novel when Eilis, desperately homesick, volunteers to serve other recent Irish immigrants in a shelter during her first Christmas in Brooklyn. When one of the men gets up to sing a Gaelic ballad, all of Toibin's luminous prose was appropriately absent; either Hornby or the Director wisely chose to instead do a close-up of Ronan's expressive face - nothing else was needed.

If any of you saw either of these wildly dissimilar - for me equally wonderful - films, let me know your reactions. BTW, I'm even more nervous about seeing "Room" - adapted from Emma Donoghue's harrowing novel - than I was about "Brooklyn". Anyone seen that yet? Dare I attempt the hat trick?

1 comment:

  1. You've mentioned movie adaptations of books in previous posts, but I don't recall your consideration of the following question. Were there any books you disliked while enjoying the movie version? The only combination I can recall was the pairing of Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil" (1927) and the film "There Will Be Blood." (2007) I disliked the book but loved the movie. Besides the knock-out performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano, I was mesmerized by Jonny Greenwood's original soundtrack.