Tony Richardson directs Rob Lowe, Jodie Foster and Nastassja Kinski in this adaptation of John Irving’s coming of age novel about an American family’s encounters with sex, death, bears and hotel owning.
There’s a few ways to adapt a story dense novel into a two hour movie. One is to cut and condense as much as possible while retaining as much of the mood and qualities of the original. Another is to make the movie a separate work inspired by the source material but not beholden to it. Then there’s this way… which is to rush through every narrative moment of the book giving no incident any extra emphasis or greater context. Democratic, brute force, boilerplate adaptation. People who haven’t read the novel must find this borderline incomprehensible. There’s no chance to get your bearings or savour the meaning of anything until the second half. The cast look sexy, it makes for a good York Notes reminder for those of us already initiated.
Perfect Double Bill: Tom Jones (1963)
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