Saturday, March 23, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook: Movie vs. Book


On the way home from vacation, I finished my last book on the first flight.  I went into the airport bookstore and picked The Silver Linings Playbook, because I thought the movie looked interesting, and I like to read a book before seeing the movie.

Verdict: I really liked this book.  The movie was a huge disappointment.

I hate to be one of those people who is all "The book was WAY BETTER than the movie!" but in this case, it has to be said.  I understand that certain changes have to be made in the interest of time.  Another big issue is that the book is written in the first person, from the main character's point of view, so if he is thinking something, the author can just write it out.  In the movie, unless there is a voice-over, there are certain things that are difficult to communicate.   A few big complaints (and these contain spoilers, so stop reading if you plan on reading the book or seeing the movie):
  • Both main characters are way more awkward and crazy in the book.  Movie Pat is very self-aware, while Book Pat is pretty delusional.  In the book, Pat and Tiffany barely talk at all, and it is very awkward.  In the movie, they have these big discussions.  Their whole relationship is completely different.  
  • In the book, Pat is in the "bad place" for 4ish years, and only thinks it was a few months.  That's a big deal when he gets out, that everyone is trying to avoid talking about what year it is, etc.  He also doesn't tell us what happened with his wife, and why he had to go to the bad place.  We don't learn that until the very end, and he seems to be in denial, or not remember it until the very end.  In the movie, he's only in the mental institution for 8 months, and is totally aware of what happened and why he was there, and just lays it out very factually to his therapist.  (which leads me back to my first point, that he's way too self-aware in the movie)
  • The Dad character is COMPLETELY different in the movie.  Again, a huge part of the book is Pat's strained relationship with his parents, and their marriage issues.  Book Dad is a closed off jerk who won't hardly speak to Pat, and the only way they start to connect is through football.  Movie Dad is basically a helicopter parent and wants to talk all the time, and randomly has a gambling problem.  It really changed the dynamic of the story.
  • The age difference between Jennifer Lawrence (22) and Bradley Cooper (38) was also a little creepy in the movie.  Book Tiffany is supposed to be a couple years older than Pat.  In the movie, their ages are never discussed, but she is obviously way younger than him.  It doesn't help that I think of her as Katniss (16).  I think she's a great actress, but I would have preferred someone more age-appropriate!
I could go on, but I'm sure no one wants to read 10 more reasons!  One thing I was happy they kept in the movie was his rant about Ernest Hemingway's lack of silver linings or happy endings.  That was one of my favorite parts of the book, so I'm glad it was in the movie. 

Have you read this book or seen the movie?  What did you think of it?



28 comments:

  1. Hm, I haven't read or seen it. I heard the movie was great, but that came from people who hadn't read the book (and who probably didn't even know the book existed). This post makes me want to read it first, but I won't have time for that until summer break, boo.

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  2. haven't read or seen it but want to

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  3. I loved this book. I've yet to see this movie though. I hope it's not a total disappointment. I hope I at least love the movie but in a different way. Is it one of those movies that would have been good had you not read the book?
    Or did the age gap and her being Katniss just ruin it for you?

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  4. I read the book in a day. It was absolutely wonderful! I was so excited to watch the movie. I completely agree with you. MAJOR disappointment! The characters in the movie are vastly different from the characters I fell in love with while reading the book. You nailed it on the head when you said that it completely changed the dynamic of the story and the characters. I was super bummed out. I know that a lot of the book is him writing down his thoughts and that wouldn't translate very well to film but they could have stayed a little closer to the book. Too bad :/ I definitely recommend the book though. Cheers

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  5. I loved the book (read it in a day as well), and I liked the movie...but I agree with your points about why the book was better. The one thing that bothered me in the book was Tiffany's declaration of love for Pat. That felt like it happened too fast and that someone grieving wouldn't have a turnabout that quickly. I think in the movie you can see her shift a little easier...but I didn't buy Pat's line that he loved her from the first moment he saw her...that just seemed like movie speak to me.
    I'm glad they made a movie though and all of the actors were truly compelling. I was disappointed by the Dad's character being the emotional giant in the film. I think his emotional distance in the book explained Pat's issues much better.
    Thanks for your review!

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  6. Hi. I share many of your thoughts about this adaptation. Although I enjoyed the film, I cringed in the cinema every time there was a blatant deviation from the book... I know they are supposed to be two completely different art forms, but I just couldn't help it. I've written a comparison of book to film on my blog too, if anyone is interested in checking it out: http://bookorbigscreen.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/i-believe-in-happy-endings-review-of.html

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  7. Thank you so much for your review. I read the book in one sitting over two connecting flights and was enthralled. The end of the book to me was perfect because (unlike the movie) the ending wasn't necessarily a dream come true, but rather a SILVER LINING. Who is this movie Pat who was totally okay with Tiffany meddling with the Nikki letters? I, like you, could honestly go on and on about the reasons I was displeased with the movie but I will close with one that particularly broke my heart: Robert De Niro had so much potential to portray book Dad. I was looking forward to his character a great deal after reading the book and was most disappointed with how he was written for the movie most of all. I know that elements of the book must be modified to accommodate the screen, but I have never been more let down.

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    1. Yes, I was very disappointed in the movie dad! De Niro would have been perfect for the book version of the dad, and I really don't understand why they changed him so completely for the movie.

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  8. I did exactly what you did; the movie looked interesting and I saw the book at the airport, so I picked it up. I read the book a few days ago and I'm watching the movie right now. I must say I am very annoyed. The book was perfect and the movie doesn't do it justice. What's this about Danny coming in an out of Pat's life? Pat doesn't see him until he gets mugged and a broken leg in the book. Like you, I could go on for hours, but will spare everyone. I am completely disappointed in the movie.

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  9. I think when it comes to books adapted for movies, you have to separate the two things - they're not going for the same effect. Novels are deeply personal, and can be interpreted many different ways. Movies, on the other hand, especially big studio pictures with a-list stars, are totally different things. They're homogenized and cater to mass audiences, and there's pressure to have a perfect ending, etc.

    For example, watch the ending of "The Natural" movie, and then read the last chapter of the book. In the literature, Roy Hobbs strikes out and is villified as throwing the game for gamblers. The last line in the book is a child asking him to "say it ain't so Roy" Of course, in the movie, he hits a home run, exploding the stadium lights, winning the game, and re-uniting with his high school sweetheart and their love child - whoa - slightly different endings!

    So, I enjoyed both the book and the movie, and there are crazy differences, as mentioned here. Did the filmmakers lose the essence of the book? Yes. Did they make a good movie, and did the actors give great performances? I say also, yes.

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    1. I haven't seen or read The Natural, but I understand your point. I think I would have liked the SLP movie if I hadn't read the book, but in comparison, it was disappointing to me.

      I've recommended that other people read the book, and then wait a few months before watching the movie, so they can separate the 2 a bit more.

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  10. I too was so bummed about the movie! I mean even how he reconnects with Danny is all wrong! And was it only me or was Danny way more mentally handicapped in theovje than in the book?! I know I got on my bfs nerves throughout the movie with my frustrated outbursts of "What the heck?!?! That's not how this is supposed to happen!!!!!!

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  11. I really wanted to see this movie when it came out, but my husband and I never made it to the theater. I finally settled on reading the book until I could watch it on pay-per-view. I wasn't crazy about the book really because I had issues with it. After seeing the movie, I think the book is much better. There are always going to be differences between a book and it's movie counterpart. I can accept that fact. However, the characters changed so much that the story became a different one. I ended up losing interest after noticing too many drastic differences and gave up watching it. I really feel that the movie should have been given a different name as well as all the characters. It really isn't like the book at all, in my opinion, other than very basic plot and character names.

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  12. Loved the book.Hated the movie!

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  13. Loved the book.Hated the movie!

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  15. I'd just like to know... Why change the Peoples' last name? Such a weird thing to change. I also have to agree with others above... They really didn't do a movie of the book. They made a movie with the same title and general characters but the things they changed were SO odd! Jake's WIFE? No, fiance in the movie. Weird. Danny's presence? Weird. Most irritating (besides the name-change, that's really getting me), definitely the way he remembers (or always knows) about what he did to get himself landed in the bad place...and for how long he was there! Love the actors, but it wasn't a good adaptation of the book. Not at all.

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  16. I didn't hate the movie - it was still good and the actors were superb. That said, it was very different from the book.

    My main gripe is probably how the ending played out. The final chapter and ending scene of the book where they are lying in the snow was so powerful and has stuck with me for a long time. The end of the movie - everyone sitting around all happy, was no better than a generic rom-com.

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  17. The movie is a near perfect film, you cant argue with all those awards . It seems to me that whichever one you read/watched first will be your preference. I have always found books to be infinitely better than their movie adaption as most do but having seen this film first contrarily it was amazing and the book was disappointing. I still enjoyed it but the depth of character in the film is great.Amazing screen play adaption. The book doesn't have the significant point of the dance comp and eagles game being used as an important bet ,i.e leading to the film's whole crescendo plus Tiffany and Pat's relationship is so much more believable, De Niro is perfect casting and his superstition acts as example of everyone being equally messed up as Pat even though he was the one who was institutionalized. Love love love the movie , books okay.

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  18. Like you, i picked up the book at the airport. I've heard so much about the movie, but as i saw the book in the airport i decided to read it before i watched the movie. And like you, i was so so dissapointed in the movie. And it's so sad that the characters were changed so much, because the casting was perfect and the actors could have done such a good job reflecting the characters in the book. Totally agree with the dad-part. And how he remembers everything, how the awkwardness is gone aswell as the tention and how it ends. I hate the ending. The fact that Pat "turns" Nikki down and tells Tiff that he loves here ruined it for me. When i read the ending, i was picturing the scene in my head - and it was so beautiful, and so right. This is just another Hollywood ending. I also didn't like the fact that his parents were so close, or that we never saw the Eagles chant (that i was looking forward to see), or that the relationship with Cliff is so washed away. Gah, just watched the movie and got so frustrated. Had to search google if anyone had the same experiense :)

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  19. I've read both and personally loved both of them! Yeah the Pat Peoples Sr. Character and Pat Solitano Sr. Character are very different, and I personally prefer him on the movie but I love Dolores Peoples/Solitano in the book and her character is amazing! Nice Review even though we share different opinions! :)

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  20. The movie is based on the book... not an exact replica. I think the movie is fabulous. Oscar worthy, for sure.

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  21. I personally think the dad not talking to be pretty powerful and makes the story interesting.
    I don't care about the age difference, I just think Jen's SOOOO HOT.

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  22. Loved, loved, loved the book... movie disappointed me... :( same reasons add listed in your comment

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  23. Loved, loved, loved the book... movie disappointed me... :( same reasons add listed in your comment

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  24. I recently saw the movie and I liked it a lot. I haven't read the book BUT I did read the plot outline of the book on Wikipedia after watching the movie and honestly the book's plot looks better than the movies plot I still like the movie though. I think if you read the book first the movie will be disappointing.

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  25. I was really intrigued by the comments on this post.

    This is one of the first times ever I've watched the movie BEFORE reading the book. When I watched the movie, it wasn't what I expected it to be. I think I was expecting something a little lighter? I don't know. It was ok, but I didn't love it. I thought the acting was great, butttttt.. I just didn't get the hype.

    So I read the book. Even after seeing the moving and picking out all of the differences (which is SO strange doing it the opposite way I normally do. I NEVER see the movie first. :P), I still wasn't sold. But I have to say... I still loved the book better! I think it's just proof that the books are always better. :)

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