So happy together…

I suppose that the song is the theme song for film and literature?  I have now watched this ( ahem ) movie three times.  On the third try I did not fall asleep half way through.  While I am not a fan, not even an appreciator, I am happy to pose questions and discuss some of the subject matter of it.  It definitely evokes many of the opinions and topics which we have touched upon so far.  I am just not sure I agree with its stance.

First, does this movie suggest that it is impossible to write a true( I know this is a generalized word.  I mean close) adaptation?  Here he never gets around to it.  This movie seems very far from its source.  We only get glimpses of the literature as he reads it in the movie.  All representation of the Orchid Thief story are extrapolation, morphed, hollywoodized, etc.

Second, does this movie suggest that film MUST resolve something deep or meaningful in order to be successful?  I was not sold on the tongue in cheek resolutions presented at the end here.  I feel I would have enjoyed something “disappointing” more.  Was this disappointing in its sell out to the rules?  I agree with another student who mentioned his distaste for this movies enjoyment with itself.  The cleverness was too contrived.

Third, is the montage abused on purpose?  This was working for me.  The settling into real time at the end was what threw me out of the movie.  It was almost where it gave up.  When the montage ends, and the brothers join each other, and the story lines converge all of the ideals proposed at the beginning are shattered.  We see characters in conflict, we see them “learn something,” and of course we see the fated deus ex machina all gathered in a final voice over.

Finally, and here I cut the film some slack, how significant is the Tilda Swinton character?  She represents the industry.  She is always eating (not sure if there is really a suggestive image here, but its funny), she is manipulative in her demeanor, and I feel possibly the catalyst for all of the bad decisions on the part of the artists.  She informs Orleans the book will be optioned and coaxes Kauffman into the job, which he also needs, telling him he is brilliant.  I do not have a problem blaming her and all she represents for all of the issues presented the screenwriter.

All sarcasm aside, I am looking forward to the discussion!!

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5 Responses to So happy together…

  1. Marie Mosot says:

    “I feel I would have enjoyed something ‘disappointing’ more.” I think so, too – I think that would’ve been a very fruitful route, a straight adaptation that fulfills both Susan’s voice and Charlie’s ideals. However, isn’t it interesting that you were disappointed by the lack of disappointment? Charlie wants to write a film about disappointment, and you end up disappointed – in a sense, then, the film is successful. By taking the tongue-in-cheek route and springing all the traps that the first half of the film consciously avoids in the pursuit of portraying disappointment, the second half of the film foils any impulse for release, for attaining disappointment, and the audience is left disappointed. (Did that make sense?)

    • Marie Mosot says:

      Put another way: Charlie sets the audience up to expect disappointment and instead gives us satisfaction, a happy ending, leaving us disappointed. That’s similar to the way a lot of people expect adaptations to be unsatisfying: they go into and watch a film adaptation with the expectation, conscious or otherwise, that it will disappoint, that it won’t “do justice” to the source material, so of course, they leave the film disappointed without asking why or how (e.g., it assumes a tight relationship between source literature and subsequent film, that is, fidelity or the more extreme parasitism). Most people would be satisfied with a happy ending, but we are not in this film – why? what does that mean? It’s in the expectation that we set ourselves up for disappointment, and film adaptations have greater expectations to overcome than other genres. Bazin argues that this is good because it forces film to be better; nowadays, it’s become an automatic set-up for failure (which I personally think is misguided), for disappointment, which Adaptation. can be said to say is inevitable.

  2. Sara Tener says:

    With respect to Amelia’s first question, I believe that we were to take the film as saying that it is possible to get close to a source in spirit. Nevertheless, though I have not read the book, I took the liberty of reading the New Yorker article, and it did retain a number of its details and “narrative.”
    In terms of the second query, I would say that, based on the film, it is not essential that something deep transpire so much that something transitional and cathartic occur. This relates to the audience that desires the “wow” factor.
    With respect to the third observation, I believe that it is important that we take the film in its totality. It is ascribed to both Charlie and Donald. This gives us pause to reflect on what we expect of adaptations and what others desire of them. Here, it seems that we are being informed that one can only be faithful to a point when adapting sources: Hollywood drama is necessary if one wishes to receive an audience.

  3. Taking Marie’s comment into consideration, it also seems like we demand texts to be coherent–a novel or film has to continue to do whatever it started out to do. If it changes direction in the middle (or maybe doesn’t even have a direction until the middle), then that’s perceived as poor art.

  4. I must admit I did find the juxtapostion of the theme song with the screen writer too terrified to meet the author of the book amusing. Especially when theyh do finally meet and LaRoche is curious who will play him in the movie, while Orleans is deciding to kill him. Very tongue in cheek stuff but I couldn’t help but chuckle at it.

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