It seems whenever a book is made into a movie, particularly a well-received book, fans and critics get nervous and automatically assume the movie will be terrible. I will admit, I am one of those people. I try not to be. I do not even read that much (slowly, but surely trying to change that). But when you read a book, even if the author describes the characters looks, their homes, their idiosyncrasies, you can't help but imagine them in their own special way. You essentially become the director of the film version in your head, picking camera angles and the way the characters deliver their lines. That actually makes me nervous for any director who takes on an adaptation.
I have recently become enamored with Tom Hiddleston (I know, I know, I'm late to that bandwagon. But while he was fancying himself as Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris, I was distracted by Corey Stoll as Hemingway and while he was parading around as Loki in Thor, I was anticipating Jeremy Renner's tiny cameo), and decided I had to see everything he was in. NOW. RIGHT AWAY. One of those projects was The Deep Blue Sea, based on the play of the same name. Or it is a remake of the 1955 film which is an adaptation of the play. Depends what you read.
So I decided to set myself up for disappointment and read the play first. It's a quick read, but I loved it.
Here's the gist: Hester (get it? like The Scarlet Letter? so you already know she's an adulterer) attempts suicide, she is confronted by both her boyfriend and her husband, she wants the boyfriend, he doesn't want her, the husband wants her back, she doesn't want him, just when she is about to attempt suicide again, she bonds with the fake-but-not-really-fake doctor and she decides to live.
Once I was done with the play I went to Netflix instant (can I get paid for this?) and couldn't wait to see how Hiddleston and this movie was. I didn't like it. It seemed to get great reviews, but it was blah for me. The music was good though.
In the play we are not given too much background on the characters. Freddie (the boyfriend; Tom Hiddleston) is a former RAF pilot/WWII hero. Twice, I believe. Hester's husband, Bill, is a judge, about 10 or so years older than her. Hester is a painter who seemed to lost her natural skill early on. Her being a painter and the encouragement from the doctor (actually, the whole relationship she has with the doctor is almost non-existent in the film) to start over on her terms, is never even insinuated in the film, which is sad, it makes me relate to her less. She does have a conversation with her neighbor who is caring for her dying husband about true love. Hester's reaction to that conversation makes me assume that after the movie ends, Hester looks for another man, as if to validate her life, when really, like in the play, she should be concentrating on loving herself first.
I do wonder if I would feel this way if I had seen the movie first. Because I already had the ending of the play in my head, I had certain expectations and interpretations, and when the film didn't meet those, I just wrote it off. Maybe if I had seen it with an open mind I would have understand the director's choice to cut out the storyline/ending with the doctor. Next time I decide to see a movie based on a written piece of work, I have to ask myself if I'm willing to keep an open mind.