April 25, 2003


I suspect it was a good thing I hadn't read A. S. Byatt's acclaimed novel before seeing this film adaptation. For one thing, the first few minutes of the director's commentary track revealed that they changed the male lead into an American for the film which probably would have bugged the heck out of me had I known it while watching the movie. What little I know about the book suggests it's dense with literary detail, and that shows here by the fact that there were several places where I felt like important details were missing.

I read some reviews when the movie came out which were commenting on how unlikely it is to have English lit academics played by gorgeous movie stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart, and I have to agree. There are an infinite number of ways that humans can be attractive, and the narrow selection of them accepted by Hollywood is obnoxious. I had less problem with Jeremy Northam as his usual charming Englishman and Jennifer Ehle being sweetly impish as his lady love.

The movie is okay, but I suspect I'd enjoy the book more.

Verdict: 2-1/2 stars (out of 4)

Posted by jeffy at April 25, 2003 08:44 PM
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