If you love a book, NEVER NEVER go and see the film thereof (apart from "Hellboy", which was a class act). We've all been there - the extraordinary disappointment of seeing your favourite character played by Tom Cruise (or, worse, Val Kilmer, a man who looks like somebody drew a face on a balloon and then blew it up slightly too much), the dreadful soundtrack, the hamfisted casting, entire story arcs left out. I completely understand that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with altering a book to fit what some ponytailed suit thinks would be nice (and shoehorn some sex/car chases etc into a plot otherwise devoid of them), but in that case why say "Based on the novel by.." ?? Why not just totally rewrite it and call it something else - and in the process get the credit for a whole new and original plot? I only say this because I went to see "Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day" last night. Ho hum, I say to you, ho bleeding hum. And in fact quite the reverse argument applies to this one. Far from being a complex work gutted for the screen, the book was a frothy little nothing of a plot, a really good holiday read, and I have to say I could see it being a very sweet Sunday night feelgood kind of thing. So when I saw that it had Frances McDormand in it my heart sank slightly - not because I don't like her, because I really really do, but because she's decidedly not an insubstantial frothy kind of actress. And lo, lo and behold - suddenly the film was rife with foreboding, and I use the phrase advisedly (mostly because it sounds good); bomber planes flying overhead, air-raid drills, gasmasks in shop windows, characters saying sadly to each other "They don't remember the last war, do they..", all sorts of things that were never in the book - HELLOOO, I wanted to shout at the screen, the whole point of this book (written as it was in 1938) was to stop people thinking about the outbreak of war, and give them a frilly piece of frippery to take the nasty taste away. And as such, perfectly suited to our rather uncertain times, non?
I attach for your delectation a picture of Amy Adams, because she really was the only one who was perfectly cast and, bless her, she's another ginger. And Lee Pace, because when he appeared on screen we all cheered up immensely.