Book vs Film #3 Practical Magic

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…

I wrote on my The Rules of Magic review that I hadn’t liked Practical Magic that much when I read it years ago. So while I’m aware my experience with the book might be different now (I like to believe I’ve grown up haha), I think I’ll choose the film this time, too.

I think this was yet another one of those times when my expectations were too high because I had seen and loved the movie first. In fact, Practical Magic is still today one of my favorite movies. I don’t care if it’s too 90s, too corny or old-fashioned, I try to watch it once a year and it makes me feel so happy ❤ (I think it might be that time of the year now?).

When you fall in love with a film like that, you expect the book to make you feel the same way. Unfortunately for me, the book is WAY different. In fact, the novel is so different that it was like the screenwriter had decided to create a whole different story. And I liked that one better.

None of my favorite moments were in the book. The relationship between the two sisters felt too cold, there was no love spell or “curse”. Gillian and Sally were pretty unlikable and the aunts barely had any presence. There was no “sorority” feel and I didn’t get emotional at the end. Safe to say, I was pretty disappointed.

I get that this book is loved by many people, so I’m not saying it’s a bad book at all, it just wasn’t what I expected. Do you like the book? Or do you prefer the film?

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Book vs Film #2 Brooklyn

Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood “just like Ireland” — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

I already talked about this film/book in another post, but I wanted to feature it in this new meme. This is one of those cases where I watched the film, fell in love with it and decided to read the book hoping to feel the same. Spoiler: I didn’t.

I watched the Brooklyn film back in 2015 and I’ve watched it probably 3 times more ever since (and I still want to watch it again). I’m fully aware that this is a rather “simple” film, in the sense that it’s not an epic romantic drama like Titanic or even The Notebook. Some people have told me that: “yes, it was okay, just nothing special”. But when I watched this movie, I hadn’t watched a romantic flick where I rooted so much for the characters in a very LONG time. I had already made my mind when I watched the trailer, as I remember thinking: this Italian “fella” is so cute. And sometimes, a story is justs perfect for you.

The story features various ingredients I really enjoy (no murders this time haha!): Irish immigrants in New York, Brooklyn (I’m completely in love with the Brooklyn area), Italian accents, Irish accents, the 50s, Sunday dances, genuinely good guys who are gentle, kind and funny…

The book wasn’t bad and I would’ve probably liked it better had I read it before watching the film. It just was so different, I found it rather “cold” and I didn’t care about the characters that much. The relationships didn’t feel genuine, I felt like Eilis didn’t really like any of the guys and I certainly want to feel something when I’m reading about a romantic relationship. Underwhelmed was the perfect word to describe my feelings while reading the novel.

So this time, the film is a clear winner. Saoirse Ronan was fantastic, and I want to be Eilis and have Emory Cohen’s Tony fall in love with me. Also, I can’t watch the final monologue without bawling like a baby.

Book vs Film #1 Before I Fall

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night. However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

Back in 2010, when I still read YA books, I discovered Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. The novel became an instant favorite and I absolutely loved the fun mix between Groundhog Day and Mean Girls. I’ve always enjoyed this type of “time-traveling” concept and the story also featured a powerful message. I’m a sucker for stories that include strong character development and this is a perfect example.

Years later, I still remembered the book fondly, but I’d often wondered if I would enjoy it that much had I read it now for the first time. So when I saw that the film adaptation had been released this year, I decided to watch it in order to prove my point. Was I too “old” for Before I Fall? Would the film version spoil my idealized vision of the book?

95 minutes and many tears later, I realized that the film was actually as powerful & magic as the book. And this is how film adaptations are done, Hollywood! Before you say anything, I admit I cry easily and I might’ve been overly emotional the day I watched it, but believe me, I hadn’t enjoyed a teen flick since Hailee Steinfeld’s The Edge of Seventeen.

Before I Fall was surprisingly smart, tender and emotional. The young actors were good and the script perfectly captured the novel’s essence.  As Sam keeps living the same day over and over again, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do in that situation. And who doesn’t love a good redemption story? Can’t wait to watch it again!