Picture this: in the present, a young journalist discovers a series of love letters. They were written between a married woman and her paramour in the 1960s, and they tell of a passionate but star crossed affair. Naturally, the journalist searches for more of the letters and, eventually, finds love of her own.
This is the plot of The Last Letter From Your Lover. It isn’t entirely original, but it is a pretty good version of this kind of story.
It’s no secret that the United States has done some terrible things in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Nearly 800 people were detained at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp –which, for the record, remains open still– without due process. They have been subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques”, a bland euphemism for torture. In violation of both international agreements and the united states constitution, these prisoners rights were ignored and their persons abused. The entire affair was –and continues to be– a blight on American history.
The Mauritanian tells the story of one of these people. Mohamedou Ould Salahi (played by Tahar Rahim) was held at Guantanamo for 14 years. His memoir, written while in detention, became the basis for this movie, in which his harrowing story is hiding inside a legal drama we’ve all seen before.
There’s a fine line that adaptations of novels have to walk. Leave too much in and you risk your movie becoming plodding and boring. take too much out and you risk dumbing down or losing a theme or moment or sub plot integral to that story. Nowhere is this more clear than with Young Adult novels. Because they are generally fairly easy to follow in the first place the smallest choice a director makes can have drastic consequences for the movie you are making.
Case in point, Divergent is a movie that I am sure is based on a good book that discusses and explores interesting themes, but the movie itself glosses over all of this to tell a pretty by the numbers story about a girl in a not-that-dystopian future.
Young Adult fiction seems like it must be pretty hard to adapt. Harry Potter made all the money, as did Twilight, and it looks like The Hunger Games will too, but most other young adult novels tend to, well, underwhelm.
Divergent is the next franchise to make a run at it, and here’s a proper trailer, theatrical poster, and character posters. Fun!
With Harry Potter and Twilight being over (at least until someone figures out how to wring more cash out of them) we’re going to be hit with a whole slew of new young adult books being turned into movies. Here’s another one.