Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Favorite Book-to-Film Adaptation
I read a recent article written by literary agent Kate McKean (Article - Fiction and Movies) about what fiction writers can learn from movies in terms of plot, high stakes, and characterization, i.e. characters who want something, and how important it is to fall in love with characters, even if they wreak havoc - they need to be somehow charming, mean yet fragile, and most of all, unforgettable.
I began to think about which movies I've learned the most from, and realized that the reason Terms of Endearment (1983) has been my favorite movie of all time is because it covers all of bases as far as character development, plot, stakes, etc., and it just so happens to be a movie adapted from the book of the same name, written by Larry McMurtry in 1975.
In the movie, Shirley MacLaine played Aurora; edgy and guarded, yet loving and vulnerable - Debra Winger played Emma; fast-talking, looking for love like her mom, yet at odds with her mom; close to her in some ways, yet still a world away as far as emotions - and Jack Nicholson who played Garrett; the playboy, smooth, detached, funny, who in the end, became loving and attached, even to Aurora's kids and grandkids. I cry every time Emma speaks to her kids from her death-bed. It breaks my heart for them (because of her odd-way of wanting to keep it simple), yet it also touches my soul (for the same reason) for her.
This movie was touching, tragic, funny, surprising, and risky. It has been in the #1 spot in my heart since its release (#2 being Turning Point in1977 and #3 being Waiting to Exhale in 995). I remember telling my husband that I didn't want Terms of Endearment to end - and so, he took me to see it again.
It's my hope that this type of writing, an adherence to the craft and to the rules that literary agent Kate McKean spoke of, will cause some readers to "not want my books to end" either. Even though this was an adaptation, I salute Larry McMurtry for creating such a wonderful story.
Authors - what is your favorite book-to-film adaptation? And please offer a few words as to why. Thanks!
Write on! See you again on October 5th!