A blend of Southern charm and Caster-goodness
I reveled in both the book and the movie!
The film was very entertaining in its own right. It remained true to the southern charm and language of the book. That elegant gentlemanly style Ethan Wate exuded is cast perfectly with Alden Ehrenriech. In the film, Alden played Ethan as a little clumsy and awkward which in my opinion made him more realistic and adorable. Lena Duchannes (played by Alice Enflert) was a little less developed, but nonetheless I was able to connect with her character’s dilemma and appreciated that she wasn’t as dramatic as her written counterpart. It feels slightly off kilter to like the Film version of Ethan and the written representation of Lena – the reasons being the Ethan in the novel felt a little too good to be true, he always appeared to be so sure of his convictions and was the rock to Lena’s storm (sometimes literally) of emotions. The smiling and, at times uncoordinated, actions of Alden, along with an infectious chuckle lent a vulnerability and insecurity to Ethan which immediately had me wanting to give him a big hug. Lena in the book was everything you want from an outsider: reserved and secretive, difficult to get to know, brooding and emotional. It added to the stakes and drama showing the angst in her actions and inner thoughts. Comparatively Alice’s interpretation on the big screen felt a little stiff and non-expressive, it left me feeling like they had cast someone too old for the role rather than a character that was an extreme introvert.
The storyline for the film remained true to the novel (apart from the ending) and I appreciated how screenwriters weaved elements from the book, so that you got to see all its best elements on screen. Granted the stories weren’t identical but I felt an excellent job was done for the medium. If you included all the elements from the novel in the film adaptation it would be left busy and overdone, eclipsing the soul of the story: Ethan and Lena’s romance. The novel had a quickened pace and flourishing language where I was gripped from page to page. The fight scenes were more intricate and involved a larger cast – I would have liked to have seen the same grandiose climax on screen, but appreciate how it would not have worked with the adapted storyline.
Overall the film was a much lighter and charming version than the novel – which I found truly beautiful. The landscape, the music, it all worked for me. The darker tone in the novel made it an enthralling read, and thought the climax and end happened rather quickly, it was ultimately satisfying. Definitely one of the best reads this year by far.
Yes, the movie was somewhat predictable, and many of the reveals in the plot shown too early (in my opinion), where the suspense was timed to perfection in the written version. As I mentioned the endings are different, but I don’t think the movie did any disservice to the book, or the series. It’s sad the movie under performed and no sequels are slated for production, I would have at the front of the cue to reserve tickets.
I’d recommend both, although maybe read the book before the movie to save you from spoilers. In deciding on which is better: I’d have to say it is a tie! They both stood out on their own merits and I found little fault in either.
For both the film and the novel: endearing and full of charisma.
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