9 October 2019 | tobermory2-1
"The book was better." Yeah, yeah, but the problem with this movie is that the book it is based on is simply not successful. Shirley Jackson was a fine author and "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" is not a bad read; it simply contains characters we cannot like nor relate to in a meaningful way because they exhibit horrendously anti-social behavior. That gets very old very fast. Jackson at least gives us to understand what motivates these characters to act-- or not act-- something that movie does not accomplish at all.
When the movie chooses to differ from the book, it takes us farther away from understanding these people who are so far from the norm to begin with. Almost none of the fine details of character and of place that Jackson chose for her book are in the movie while the plot differences are appallingly bad choices.
Finally, the movie is simply too English in tone and look. It works so much better in New England, where the book is set, and no padding in of vintage American cars can erase that stone church tower nor the stone manor house and extremely English garden that have no place here.
Give both this movie and its book a pass. If you want a great read, try Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House," whose movie version is also excellent.