January 31, 2012

Book to movie: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.

i read EL&IC when it first came out, and i loved it. loved it. i had had a hard time with Everything is Illuminated, and was happy that Foer had written something a little more accessible. (for me, anyway. i don't really like to work for my stories.) it was a distant but happy memory... i didn't remember much of the story's details, just the basic gist of the plot, and that i loved every page.

fast forward 7 years, when a trailer appears for the movie, starring Sandra Bullock. i'll be honest, my first thought was "oh hell, no." there is no place in this beautiful story for Miss Congeniality. but it was a done deal so i was resigned to walk into the theatre with very low expectations. because the story was fuzzy in my brain, i requested the book from the library and spent 4 nights plowing through it in order to be finished by movie time. gosh that book is amazing. so many tiny, massively heartbreaking details and moments. and i forgot about all the photographs & illustrations. so many delightful little phrases like "heavy boots" and "one hundred dollars." i fell in love all over again, and was even more skeptical that the movie could even convey 1/100th of the book's magic.

regardless, my book-to-movie buddy and i met in St. Cloud over the weekend to see it, and.... it was better than i expected. there were a lot of liberties taken with the story, which i actually didn't mind. once i realized the screenplay was only loosely based on the book, i decided to let go & enjoy the movie on its own. Sandra did great; her performance as the bereaved mom was subtle and heartbreaking. (although she had lots of close-ups and it creeped me out that a 47 year old woman has less wrinkles than me.) there's a scene in both the book & movie that is the major plot resolution/redemption for the main character. in the book, that was a bit lost on me because i was so fixated on the language and nuances, but Hollywood is great for plumping up those scenes and serving them to you on a silver platter, with a side of Kleenex. which for one of the first times, i actually appreciated.

so in short, loved the book, liked the movie. would recommend both!

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