The Book Was Better: Everything Is Illuminated

The Book Was Better: Everything Is Illuminated

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Hello and happy Wednesday. A few weeks ago, I was told by an OkCupid user that there was actually a movie adaptation of the book Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. Everything Is Illuminated is my absolute favorite book in English, and I adore it because it reminds me of my Jewish ancestors and how they, too had to escape their homes due to World War II. It is an amazing novel and I believe everyone should read it at some point in their lives. I read this book about three years ago, so I’m going to focus more on the movie, which I recently watched and took notes of, so let’s get started!

The first thing I thought was “man, I love the music.” The music itself reminded me of afternoons at my grandma’s house, when she plays Israeli music while we all chill after lunch, which led me to my second thought, about how this movie, and obviously the book are truly Jewish. Like, you get the jokes and relate to the characters and everything they do and say. It was really refreshing to find a movie like that.

I loved the beginning because it was not rushed at all, and even though the movie sort of takes a different path from the book, which I’ll explain in a minute, it takes its time to introduce the characters and the plot, and the scenery. At first, I loved the fact that Elijah Wood was Jonathan Safran Foer, but then I didn’t like it as much, as I remembered how the character was in the book. I feel like they were two completely different characters.

One thought that came to my mind, is that I’m not sure how much of the movie can be understood without having read the book. I feel that many gaps were filled by the book in certain scenes, like I understood what happened because I’d previously read about it, but for someone going blindly into it, I don’t know if it would be easy to follow, and even if it’d be enjoyable or not.

And here’s the thing, the movie rarely mentions Trachimbrod and the flashbacks that are inserted in the novel, which tell the story of the shtetl. I feel like that made the focus of the movie change completely to Jonathan trying to understand the history of his family to his journey of going to the place where his family used to live, you know?

With those things in mind, I was already leaning towards liking the book more than the movie, and then the last half hour or so was just incredibly slow, and it dragged on, and I got bored. I’m not great at watching movies with little to no dialogues, and with this particular movie, it was sad that I actually didn’t like the last part. That being said, the last scene is absolutely heartbreaking and it’s what made watching the whole movie worth it.

Now, tell me, do you enjoy book-to-movie adaptations? Why or why not?

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

The Movie Was…Weird? Charlie St. Cloud Edition

The Movie Was…Weird? Charlie St. Cloud Edition

Hello and happy Wednesday. I’m on a mission to read all of the books I’m “currently reading” according to Goodreads. One of these books was The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood, which surprised me because I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. I originally started this book because I was planning on doing a book-to-movie adaptation month in my old blog, but we all know what happened with those plans. Still, I read the book and watched the movie, so today I can write an edition of “the movie was better.”

I understand why some people might not like this story, especially if they’re not into books that are based around a religion or faith in general. Some people don’t like that, and it’s totally respectable. I’m not religious but I’m super spiritual and I love G-D with every fiber of my being, and whoever knows me knows that about me, so I enjoyed that element of faith in the book. The movie has less of that and those moments when G-D or religion was mentioned were incredibly cheesy, in my opinion.

Another aspect that I didn’t like in the movie and that was one of those things that made me love the book was the way Tess, Charlie’s love interest, was portrayed. In the book, at least from what I felt, Tess was you typical strong independent woman who needed no man. If I’m exaggerating this or maybe you didn’t think of her that way when reading the book, tell me. Movie Tess, however, seemed like this needy, childish girl who’s had a crush on Charlie since they were in high school and can finally be with him. Annoying, if you ask me.

Charlie’s and Tess’s relationship in the book, though super cheesy at times, was one that I liked reading about. They talked about things they liked and they made plans, and they got to know each other. In the movie, everything between Charlie and Tess moved horribly fast and somehow the whole plot seemed to revolve around their relationship, which I feel wasn’t really the point of the book. Besides, the fact that in the book they hadn’t met before makes the story more original, whereas Tess’s little lip-biting scene when Charlie goes to pick up his high school diploma (five years before they become an item) made me roll my eyes really hard.

The final point I’m going to make is the one that I think bothered me the most, and it may be because I’m a teacher and I see children as beings full of love and potential. Book Sam (Sam is Charlie’s brother, who dies at the very beginning of the story), is this sweet eleven year old boy who loves his brother and even in death is a very happy child, if that makes any sense. Movie Sam, even when he was alive, is this bitter boy who’s always talking to Charlie in a recriminating way and making him feel guilty all the time, and that made his whole relationship with his older brother to be portrayed differently, and sort of ruined that aspect of the story for me when it was adapted.

Now I’d like you to tell me, which book-to-movie adaptations should I be checking out?

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

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