Saturday, September 29, 2007

Review: Le Divorce-Book vs. Movie

Le Divorce, Diane Johnson 1997

I must admit, one of the main reasons I picked up this book is the fact that it takes place in France. I occasionally like to do a little armchair traveling. The others? It was something I hadn’t read before, the premise sounded good, and I picked it up for free at the library.
Oh, and the comparisons between the two cultures, French and American; how one can completely reject everything that is familiar and adapt to something that will, eventually, become familiar.

The plot itself had very nice and tidy twists and turns. It went along at a normal pace, not a huge page turner. Although, I was a bit taken aback at Roxy slitting her wrists. That seemed a little unexpected despite knowing the character was in distress. But, expatriate sisters in France, an unexpected affair or two, jealousies, meddlesome families and a fight over a painting of St. Ursula that turns out to be famous. Sounds good to me.

The language of the book is very conversational, easy to digest, light.

I’d recommend this as a light read in fiction and as an interesting take on society in general and, specifically, between the French and American societies.

I can safely say I will never see the movie again. I happened to catch it on the Independent Film Channel mere days after finishing the book.
I suppose if you had never read the book, the movie would seem like any other, not very extraordinary…and a bit flaky, run of the mill. What I am really getting at is, the movie, apart from the book, was okay. Yes, just okay.
It was as if the movie was the same basic story-kept the very basic elements-the situation with Roxy (Naomi Watts), Isabel (Kate Hudson) and Edgar, the crazy ex-husband, etc., but the element of place was in total contrast to the book. The crazy ex-husband had a very extended part in the movie, whereas he just didn’t in the book.

As usual, a lot of information from the book was just not there in the movie. Because of this, I thought the movie too choppy and sporadic, and often had the thought, ‘Wait- this is happening already?? But that’s not until way later.’ Or, even better, ‘That wasn’t even in the book!!!’
Such scenes, for example, like those between Edgar and Isabel, Roxy’s contemplations on St. Ursula-there was so much more on that in the book.

*Conclusion: Book better than movie. Read the book before watching the movie.

Technorati Tags: books, Le Divorce, Diane Johnson, Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts

1 comment:

  1. Isn't that always the way with books made into movies!