8 January 2011 | hesapfeiffer
Good story by Canin, Bad movie.
Some years ago I picked up a copy of a literary magazine and found a story by Ethan Canin. It was excellent. As time went by I read two collections of his short stories and novellas and one novel. They ranged from good to great.
Two movies were made of his short stories. Both were good, and faithful to the stories so I was looking forward to seeing The Year Of Getting to Know Us. What a disappointment. I read both stories again upon which the movie was based, and wondered if either the director or the actors had read them.
I realize a director can't always capture the story as written in a play or movie but - The story occurred in California not Florida. There's nothing to indicate in either short story that the mother was a flake. There's no indication the father was a car salesman, only that he was successful in business. The father had multiple affairs not multiple marriages. The woman the father was having sex with in his convertible, wasn't the neighbors wife. The son was married to his significant other. The woman wasn't just his girlfriend. He was an English teacher, not a writer. His wife was a journalist not a lawyer. They lived in Boston not New York. There's a comic element to the father in the movie, not in the story. The emphasis in the story is the relationship of the son to his father, the relationship between the son and his wife is minor, and so on.
The next time this director makes a movie, I hope he writes his own story or picks a second class author. I hate it when directors mess up perfectly good literature.