27 January 2016 | mikeyosaka
Wishing for More
I had the rare opportunity to finish reading this extraordinary book for the first time and see the film in the same day. I have to say, the film left me rather disappointed for a variety of reasons. As with all book to film adaptations, there are always difficult choices to be made, scenes to leave out, areas on which to focus at the expense of others. The nature of the the film, the jumping around of time periods rather than being a linear edit seemed to serve very little purpose, if any film would have been more emotionally resonant as a linear story, this is it. The wonder of the book is how naturally it plays, the love story is emotionally resonant because it seems so familiar.
There is no buildup to that love story here in the film, we know so little of the characters (who, let's be honest, as many people have already stated are played by actors too old to be convincing or able to convey the same sense of discovery and adventure that the book describes)that the love story falls flat. The actors have some wonderful scenes, but the dialogue is far too forced and stage-like at times to hit home. A much simpler approach would have had so much more emotional impact.
The unique and incredible love story, and the particular setting of 70s/ 80s Australia should have been the main focus, more time spent focused on the early years could have made the events of the later years so much more impactful. A lot of it felt almost movie of the week type stuff, generic and anonymous. There are obviously very difficult choices to be made by a director and writer in adapting any book, let alone a memoir so incredibly intimate and honest, but so many times in the film I found myself frustrated, wondering "Why didn't they spend so more time on THAT?" A lot of the characters seem like afterthoughts, even the two main characters at times unfortunately.
I finished the book with tears running down my face, and finished the film with a sense of frustration and disappointment. Judging from other reviews on here, it seems that the movie had made an emotional impact on many, and that is wonderful. I was very much hoping to feel the same. I was moved by some parts, but left largely cold by the experience. At least the book is there to read again(and again).