Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Story - movies and books

The Turning (2013) Poster
Movie poster
I went to the movies the other day to see The Turning. It's the movie adaptation of Tim Winton's book by the same name.

The movie was marketed as an incredible cinematic feat with 17 different directors doing an interpretation of the stories within the book.

For a long time I've whinged to my husband about how poorly movies depict a book. I've refused to see some movies when I've loved the book and fear a terrible interpretation. He scoffs at me. He's a movie lover.

Anyway, I had The Turning at home, as the book. Mr E decided to read the book before seeing the movie - 2 days before. So it was fresh in his mind (often books escape his memory cells as soon as he closes the cover).

Off we went to the movie. It was a 3 hour epic. And Mr E was digging out his phone looking at the time from the halfway point. He hated the film. He sat and wriggled and squirmed. He looked at his watch.

One story was interpreted as a dance. To me, it was fascinating and beautiful. By far the most glorious of the stories. Mr E hated it. Loathed it. Couldn't understand how dance could possibly tell a story!

The movie ended. Mr E went striding out. I was only chuckling a little :) I looked at him. "What did you think?"

He huffed a bit. Scratched his head. Squirmed a little. Then said, "Was that the same book I read? I didn't remember their being any Aboriginal people in the book."

The film allowed for interpretation of the stories - which meant anyone could play the parts. There were stories with big name actors, and some with people I've never seen before. I guess each director made their own call on who they'd like to work with (I've no idea how it worked logistically and I don't want to know either!).

The book linked all the stories together. They were all in a small town. Tim Winton is gifted at that.

The movie made no such links. Not even the same state of Australia was used for the stories, let alone the same town. And the people had no link from one story to the next. In the book, one character may have a part in 3 stories, linking them. In the movie, the same character may have been Aboriginal in one story, white in another, Chinese in the next. You could not link them as the same person at all.

The key element to Tim Winton's novel was missing. And Mr E finally saw my complaint about movies not following books, and letting me down.

I think I should call it a victory.

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