Movies about quiet desperation are hard to judge.
It kinda reminded me of watching Jarhead wherein I enjoyed the movie and the performances but I could not imagine ever wanting to see it again.
Todd Field, who’s first movie was the equally good but unrewatchable In The Bedroom, seems to be making this his niche.
Kate Winslet was great (Of course she was, she’s on “The List“) as was Patrick Wilson.
The changes made to the book didn’t bother me that much. They decided to use narration which kinda bugged me (honestly, narration always bugs me) at first but I accepted that there was too much subtext that there was no other way to explain certain characters’ motivations.
One thing that really did bother me is the movie did not really show why Sarah (Winslet) and, to a lesser extent, Brad (Wilson) were so unhappy in their marriages to Richard (Gregg Edelman) and Kathy (Jennifer Connelly) respectively. With Brad, they did show that he was emasculated by not being the breadwinner and that his wife did put their son above him but not so much that he would be miserable. With Sarah, they had that one scene where she catches Richard in…um…the middle of something and after that, he’s gone for pretty much the entire movie except a dinner they have with Brad and Kathy. If anything, the movie makes it seem that her daughter is why she’s so unhappy.
Also, the tone was off a bit because it starts like a dark comedy/satire then a drama and then it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Just a series of scenes that don’t seem connected.
See? This is why I don’t like reading the book before seeing a movie. I would have liked it so much more if I didn’t know how things played out in the novel.