Friday Blog Mar 16 – Bookish Films

Today’s blog is from Wendy, from the book group formerly known as Hillhead 2

Bookish Films

Two books that our bookgroup (recently re-named as Novels Inc, based at Hillhead) read in the past couple of years have been made into films:  These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach (the film title is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the book is due to be re-issued with this title) and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday.  The Best Exotic … is in cinemas now and Salmon Fishing … will be released in April but I saw an advanced release at the Glasgow Film Festival.

Both books were enjoyed by most if not all members so how do the films stack up?  I was looking forward to The Best Exotic … in part because I’d really enjoyed the book and it has a stellar cast.  The film didn’t disappoint.  It was pretty true to the book and it had a good mix of humour, poignant and moving moments.  I was then very surprised to read some very mixed reviews for the film (1* in The Independent, 2* in The Guardian and 4* in The Telegraph).

Guardian – The cast are spry, but this bittersweet comedy about English retirees in India needs a Stannah chairlift to get it up to any level of watchability, and it is not exactly concerned to do away with condescending stereotypes about old people, or Indian people of any age. It’s a film which looks as if it has been conceived to be shown on a continuous loop in a Post Office queue.

Telegraph  – This is a watchable breeze of a film, but it has some beautifully observed and even profound portraits, and the nub of its argument – that old age is a condition imposed upon people as much by circumstances and attitude as time – is worth mulling over long after the sun sets on the Marigold Hotel.

For me, The Telegraph was closer to my experience of the film.  Also, given that the film is true to the book, The Guardian‘s review is really more a criticism of the book rather than the film.  I’d be interested to know what others views are?

Salmon Fishing … was another breeze of a film to watch and the first 30 minutes are pretty hilarious.  The cast is strong again with Ewan McGrergor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas in the main roles.  It was shot on location in London,Scotland and Morocco.  There are a couple of deviations from the book in terms of the film’s plot (don’t worry, I won’t do a spoiler on you!).  I could understand why they had done this and I don’t think it detracted from the storyline.  I’ll be interested to see what the critics make of it…  Did anyone else see it and what did you think? If not, look out for it and happy viewing.

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