Oh boy. Wow. Where do I start with this one? I guess the question every avid read always immediately comments on after a book to movie is always “which was better?” And the answer to that is … the book. Which I find shocking, because Hardin really didn’t come across too kindly in the book and they did soften his character quite a bit in the movie. He was more of an asshole and less of an abusive boyfriend in the movie, which was probably a good place for the writers/directors/etc to start making their changes.
Here’s the thing. Obviously this was a ridiculous feat to being with. Some poor human being was actually tasked with taking a 600+ page book and shaving it down to a two hour movie. Which, realistically, means that major changes and huge cuts needed to be made. I get that. It’s one of the biggest gripes we always have. “That didn’t happen in the book” or “That’s not how it happened in the book” are always our favourite things to whisper to the person we’ve unwillingly dragged with us to see the movie version. But honestly, it needed to be reduced. The book dragged on a bit and either way, it would never have been possible to fit that rollercoaster into a two hour film. So I won’t fault anyone on that.
What I will say, is that it went weirdly out of order, which was a bit odd, they ended it on a note that suggested to me, someone in the writing room said “Hey, let’s tie this up a little more neatly, in case it does horribly at the box office and we don’t end up bothering to remake the remaining three books.” That was annoying. It was an ambiguous ending (instead of the unnerving cliffhanger the book left off with) and it sort of just suggested they wanted to make sure things were neat in case it didn’t become the next Fifty Shades hit.
But aside from all of that, the most annoying thing about this movie was that if they took out all of the dead silence where Tessa and Hardin merely stared intensely at each other, they would have had at least another thirty minutes of screen time that could have been used to flesh out the storyline a bit more because honestly, where the book moved a bit too slow, the movie moved way too fast.
I’m also a bit surprised with the changes they made to their cast. Tristan was a male in the books but female in the movies, Jace looked like a forty year old who played guitar in a band in his parent’s garage, but the absolute most confusing changes were made to Hardin’s family.
Landon is black, his mother is white, Hardin is British, his father is American. I have no issue with any of those things in themselves; blended families are very normal. But it was never explained whether or not Landon was adopted or … I don’t know. It’s all very plausible that a family could be mixed like that, but the weird part was simply that it was never explained or even acknowledged. And if you had read the books, that would have been a smidge confusing – at least it left me scratching my head a bit.
So my final verdict is, while Hardin was less abusive in the movie (yay!) it wasn’t worth the two hours I spent watching it. If you’re going to read the book or watch the movie, just read the book, I guess. At least you’ll be given all the information and you won’t have to sit through a disgusting amount of silence while two people stare at each other with varying expressions on their faces.
Now, before I get back to reading my current novel I think this review would be completely lacking if I didn’t share my viewing experience, as well. I went on opening night (Friday, April 12, 2019) at 10:00 pm and as most of the world knows, that’s date night (I went alone, I don’t mind that I’m going to die lonely with only Bear and Boo to alert the neighbours of my demise) but it’s also the night when millions of teenagers get to stay out late because it isn’t a school night!
So my viewing pleasure also included ridiculous commentary from 15-17 year old children who refused to stop talking. But, aside from that, I did enjoy their reactions to various parts of the movie. They too, were (loudly) confused by Hardin’s family dynamic, but my favourite reactions were the loud gasps of shock whenever anything remotely sexual went on between Tessa and Hardin. Like loud gasps of absolutely wide-eyed shock. As if the movie had suddenly cut to a clip of murder for no apparent reason whatsoever. It was honestly very funny to me; maybe I’m just easily amused, though. They also let out the most indignant round of “What!” “Nooo!” that I’d ever heard in a movie theatre when the credits began to roll.
I’m just chuckling. I don’t know if I’m drained from watching the movie after a twelve hour shift or if it actually was as funny as I thought. I think it was just amusing because of the general consensus and the volume with which that consensus was shared.
Anyway, their reactions made the movie shoot from a two star to a passable three star, in my books!
If you go see it, let me know what you thought! Book or movie? Or both? Or neither?