Thursday, February 12, 2009

Read the book... then see the movie

More often than not these days movies are based on books. Before the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, how many of us actually read this F. Scott Fitzgerald gem, let alone even heard of it? Some books are popular on their own but gain in popularity once the movie is released. The Bourne Identity, for instance, has been around since 1980, but Matt Damon’s superb role as Jason Bourne in 2002 made the book a hit all over again. Can anyone who has seen the movie now read the book without picturing Damon as the main character?

Which brings us to the next question: is it better to read the book first, or see the movie first? Do we want to see the movie and then pick up all the nuances the filmmakers missed by reading the book? Or do we want to carve out our own ideas of the characters by reading it first, and then see how close the filmmakers come to our own ideals of how the movie should play out? And do you ever play the game, as I do in my household, guessing who would best star in a particularly well-loved book that hasn’t yet been made into a movie?

Are there any books you would simply have to read before seeing the movie? Are there any movie adaptations you would avoid altogether?

The Lane Memorial Library has lots of book and movie pairings. This week we’re featuring Atonement, the book by Ian McEwan (2002), and the movie starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy (2007). The novel is psychologically haunting and masterfully crafted. The story involves three major subplots: innocent youth gone awry, the Second World War and its terrible consequences on Britain, and the seeking of atonement for one’s past misdeeds. The movie blends fantasy and reality so that we are left not knowing which is which. My suggestion: read the book first.

Both are available at the Lane Memorial Library.


Post a Comment

<< Home