gone Hollywood

Here’s my own personal Catch-22 -- I spend concentrated time trying to find book covers that in no way feature pictures of, say, Scarlett Johansson.

If a movie is based on a book, I want to find the book that still has its original art on the cover. I guess it’s sort of like how I want the book that doesn’t have Oprah’s stamp on it. (I’ve probably mentioned this before, but my copy of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina actually had an additional Oprah sleeve wrapped around it when I purchased it. It made me sad a modern day talk show host could somehow claim even a small part of a book that outdates her by a couple centuries.)

At the same time, I’m fairly open to suggestion. And so last night, when I went to Elizabeth: The Golden Age (not good, if you’re wondering, but not exactly bad, either -- if you really want to see this movie, wait for it to come to DVD and in the meantime watch its far better prequel), I was struck by the premise of P.S. I Love You.

The movie, starring Oscar so-and-so’s, is scheduled to come out later this year, I guess. It’s based on a book by Cecelia Ahern, which I bought today in giddy expectation of a love story I will enjoy.

My giddiness is getting out of hand, lately.

While in Ottawa, I went to the movie version of The Jane Austen Book Club.

For the record, I didn’t actually expect to enjoy this movie much. For once, I was bothered, right off the bat, by how young everyone cast is. Because in Karen Joy Fowler’s book, there’s such an emphasis on middle age. I felt like going with Maria Bello and Amy Brenneman (who, by the way, does not look old enough to have a daughter in her 20s) was sort of pandering to our society’s misplaced ideals of beauty, which are linked to youth.

I still think whoever cast the film should have tried a little harder to find older women to play the main characters.

But I sort of easily put my concerns aside during the film’s opening credits. Everyone’s rushing around in today’s LA, no time to think, no time for pleasantries -- and yes, I know many another movie critic before me has discussed these opening scenes. Then, as the movie opens, it really does stay true to Fowler’s excellent book. There’s just enough Austen trivia for those who love the books, but not too much for those who’ve never read them. The story doesn’t rely too fully on the six novels, but you can easily recognize how Bello’s Jocelyn is Emma, etc.

I love, love, loved it. Cross your fingers for future adapted screenplays.

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