Tuesday, 20 November 2012

in which i post a delayed film review

It's about a year I think, since I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, [you can read my review here if you missed it at the time] and it's a book I still find myself thinking about lots so I approached the film adaptation with a little trepidation. I've had my heart broken too many times I think, by books I love being turned into films and never quite measuring up [The Golden Compass, I'm looking at you for a start] and I actually toyed with not going to see Perks because the book is so good, and I was just so scared and I have maybe been known to get a little ragey just once before. The problem with Perks was that the book blew me away, and it's still so raw and so real in my head, how was that ever going to be transposed onto the big screen; how could anybody ever do it justice?

They did do it justice.

In actuality, the film far exceeded my expectations. It was just so good, so good. It made my chest tight and it made me smile and it made me tear up in the same way that the book did - a lot of this has to be because Chbosky was so heavily involved; I had a little chuckle during the opening credits, his name just kept appearing on the screen over and over and over again, it felt almost like a one man show and I'm glad because nobody knows and loves these characters and this story like he does, I'm so so glad he kept such a tight hold on his babies because he made it work.  A lot of the time I get annoyed because due to the nature of the beast, when you're adapating a book for screen, things have to change: things are cut and things are re-ordered and it's never ever the same but here it felt right, like, we were essentially told the same perfect story just in a slightly different way, like it was designed work with the book. Does that even make sense? I am on a caffeine high today. Probably not.

Also? Genius casting is genius.

Logan Lerman was perfect as Charlie, like actually perfect; he played that part so perfectly and I just wanted to hug him and never ever let him go. He was just like the Charlie in my head which is quite the achievement and, because Lerman pitched every line perfectly, nothing was over played, nothing was too much or not quite right, he just was, and some of the subtleties to his performance, particuarly towards the end were so powerful that they hurt. Alongside that, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson were equally believable as Patrick and Sam and God, some of the moments they shared on screen with Lerman were just so beautiful; the acting in this film was incredible, so much was said in little gestures and facial expressions -the way they look at Charlie sometimes was almost too much. Ezra Miller was amazing as Patrick, his pain was so raw all of the time and yet he still managed to steal the scenes with his comic timing; funny funny funny. Miller really got under the skin of Patrick, who I adored in the book and to watch him gradually fall apart, it was hurty.

And then Emma. I came away from the cinema unsure if she was my Sam, probably because I'd gone into it expecting to make comparisons to Harry Potter and it took a while to get out of that headspace, but I take it all back because I've pondered over this and I've gone over and over it and I've thought about it and you know what, I actually cannot imagine anyone else in that part, I just can't. And if nothing else she's proved she's so much more than Hermione Granger.  In Perks Emma is so far away from beng Hermione that she's not even a speck on the horizon. I guess there's always a worry, a danger, becoming so well known for playing such an adored character at such a young age that you'll be typecast, that for Emma she'd always be Hermione. Not gonna happen. What she's done here is put herself out there as one of the great talents of her generation, we have some phenomenal Bristish actresses and I think it's safe to say Emma Watson can count herself among them [side note:  she's so beautiful, like breathtakingly so.]


All in all, I loved this film, really loved it. I can't wait for the DVD.


Friday, 2 November 2012

Things denied, things untold, things hidden and disguised.

Friday, Friday, Friday. Hurray and also hurrah. Tomorrow is the the start of another long weekend; the boy and I are off down to Brighton for four days to stop with Mark and Emma. It will be a lovely [cheap] weekend of reading on the sofa and walking on the seafront and eating lots of home-cooked food and watching fireworks and also some horse-racing, so I'm told.=. We've not seen Mark and Em since June and I'm really looking forward to it. Stopping with them is a little like a home from home in a way, which is always nice. There's no expectations and I'm pretty sure I'll spend Sunday mooching around in my PJ's eating Sugar Puffs like I did last time I was there. It's just like being at home except there's two cats instead of one and the house is nicer and the garden bigger and of course Mark and Emma are there being all delightful. I can't wait.

Before then though is the rest of today! I'm off to see my Granny in a little while which will be nice as her holiday and my holiday means I've not seen her for 3 weeks so I'm looking forward to a cup of tea and a chat and then tonight I plan to be indoors. We have some TV to watch, I don't know quite what, but something and I'll watch whilst making Christmas presents - this weeks homemade gifts involve buttons!  Exciting.

AND!!! Starbucks Red Cups are back. Dance with me?

In bookish news, this week I read The Casual Vacancy. Would I be lying if I said it was one of the most anticipated titles of the year? Maybe. There was a massive stand full of books in Sainsbury's though and Amazon sent me about 72 million emails so I'm going to say people somewhere were expecting other people to anticipate it.

I wasn't sure how I felt when I first heard that J.K. Rowling was writing another book and not only was it not the history of the Marauders but it wasn'y even remotely connected to Harry Potter. I'm not going to lie - I do not think J.K Rowling is the greatest writer that ever lived. I love Harry Potter, everybody who knows me loves that. I love the books, I know them inside out, I am grateful to Jo for writing them, I think they should be required reading for every child in the world but I don't think Jo Rowling is the greatest writer in the world [hush, don't hate me. I still love her]; she could write in Harry's world forever and I would read it forever, but something else, something totally and utterly different? I wondered how that would work out and actually, I was nervous for her because God, can you even imagine the weight of the pressure that comes of releasing anything following the success of Harry Potter - so much pressure to succeed because everything else she's done is just adored and at the same time so many people, watching, rubbing their hands together and waiting to see her fail. *gulp*  rather her than me.
I think she made the right desecion taking the step away from children's literature for that very reason; anything she wrote in that genre would be judged - harshly - against Harry Potter, she'd have to produce something incredible to stand half a chance of measuring up. At least with The Casual Vacancy whilst people will always compare it to Harry Potter, the comparisons are harder to make.

First impressions? In fact, earlier than first impressions, so impressions based on the information I had before I even had a copy of the book? I wasn't sure I was going to like it. If Jo's name wasn't on the cover then I wouldn't have picked it up and that's a fact; the blurb would not have drawn me in - a book about small town politics doesn't sound like the most exciting read. I read this book purely because it said J.K. Rowling on the cover; Jo drew me in, the fact that I had to see what she could do and I kind of liked that because I had no idea what to expect, no clue. I was pleasantly surprised, actually, because I actually really liked it.

It's a funny thing to say, I suppose, but it felt familiar reading this book. I mean, the characters, the setting, the story, all of it was brand new and yet somehow it felt a little like settling down with an old friend; whilst there are no wizards and no magic and no Hogwarts in the world of The Casual Vacancy but instead council estates and drug addicts and pompous middle aged men and small town politics there's something about it, which I guess can only be Jo that comes through and it made it easy and comfortable to read, perhaps because like Harry Potter, in The Casual Vacancy's characters are at the heart of the story and Rowling does well with characters. It's a book about class and about society and what at first seems like just a simple story about the complexeties of a relatively small group of people - all of whom had their own distinct voice, well done Jo - soon grips you with unexpected melodrama, and twists that leave you gasping and an ending that is shocking but very well executed. Once it got it's claws in, this book wouldn't let me go, I had to keep reading - meaning I am stupid tired this morning - and I'm really very glad I did.

J.K. Rowling has proven here that she isn't just a one trick pony, that she can do more than just Harry Potter and I certainly won't be as nervous about picking up her next offering.