Friday, 14 October 2016

Love, Rosie... A book turned into film

A pretty long while ago now, I had mentioned an idea that was brewing in my mind to write a comparison review between a book and film about the same story. The fictional account I will be tackling today is one of those rare cases where the film is actually better, if very different, to the book, despite that the book came first.

Please note that this entry contains SPOILERS.

Love, Rosie, originally published as Where Rainbows End, by author Cecelia Ahern, is the extremely long if original account of Rosie Dunne's chaotic years from childhood right up to her fifties. Her relationship with best friend Alex is explored mostly through letters going not only back and forth between the two of them but also a multitude of family correspondence in which the two unconciously reveal their feelings for each other, which seem to be obvious to all but themselves.

Letters work well in some novels but not, initially, in this one. To leave things out for the reader to find out is all well and good, but to purposely leave out information on which the whole story will hang is a no-no in my opinion. Truth be told, I doubt I'd have willed myself through the first tedious chapters of the book had I not already watched the film and fallen in love with the story. That said, so much was changed from book to film that at times the story goes off on a totally different route to the one on screen. This is understandable in that the book version is so long it would never work as a film.

Rosie's daughter's subplot about following her dream career is totally omitted, leaving the young Katie only the roles of catalyst and her parallel friendship-turns-to-love subplot. So are the two men Greg and Katie's father turned into one character fulfilling the role of both in the less-than-two-hour-long interpretation. These two changes leave no consequence on the main story but some other changes do, working to better Ahern's story as we are spared the long years of interminable side-tracking to get to the perfect ending. In the book Rosie suffers a long stint working in a rundown hotel that, whilst giving her the work experience she so needs for her eventual career, does nothing to help the book along other than to disgust Alex' wife. This prolonged work placement is not to be found in the less dragging script. Yet another significant change is caused by Alex getting married for a totally different reason in the book, which albeit responsible does torture the reader with eighteen years of a failing marriage. The film instead gives Alex every reason to leave his ailing relationships, pushing him into Rosie's arms faster.

As I mentioned already, Katie's father is not Greg in the book and yet Greg is probably Ahern's best bet at making the plot work. Though he is still the one to hide Alex's letter in the film, the book makes him into a sorrier excuse of a man as he goes about his cheating life without the charm of the handsome Christian Cooke's acted out Greg. Alex's cute teddybear scene that comes right after the funeral and before Greg shows up drunk, putting Alex and Greg in clear comparison on film, is missing from the book. Meanwhile Ahern's antagonist is pitted against Alex all through the book in obvious hints that only the confused Rosie could miss. Alex's perfect description of the holiday he guesses Rosie would prefer is in perfect contrast to Greg's choice and probably my favourite scene in the book.

Given that this has been about comparing and contrasting rather than the usual review, I afraid this entry may have given some details away. However, I have tried as well I can to keep the main surprises out of this text so that you may still enjoy their discoveries whether you choose to read the book, watch the film or do both.

Despite that I have often suggested during discussions with friends, that in this case I would think it makes better sense to watch the film before reading the text, this is always up to the individual's taste. The one thing I can say is that they are both a treat in a different way to each other and whichever you choose to do first won't spoil the other as they are so different, almost like two seperate stories at times if you will, further helped along by the fact that the author of P.S. I Love You has, even in this case, resorted to letters to make her point, whilst the film relies heavily on characterisation instead and presents us with a story that is being played out in real time instead of explained in letters. What works in a book does not always necessarily translate to film and vice versa. So, dear readers and film buffs, I leave you today with a task. If you do follow my advise and see what all the fuss around Love, Rosie is about, do take the time to comment on this post. I would really love to read new opinions about this story that is a favourite of mine.

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