2008 Jan 06

Revolutionary Road: Too Good a Book to Be a Movie

Recently there has been a surge of books being turned into movies. While that’s not a new concept, it’s becoming a frustrating trend, mostly because the film versions so rarely live up to the experience of reading the book.I am squeamish about The Time Traveler’s Wife (despite some good casting choices) as well as the adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love. I can just envision the most powerful moments in those books being reduced to neat little scenes that can’t possibly deliver as strong a punch. Just this week, too, there was the news that The Bell Jar is being made into a film, and I’m still not comfortable with that idea. Simply put, some things should not be adapted for the big screen, and The Bell Jar is one of those things.Joining this parade now is Richard Yates’ 1961 novel Revolutionary Road

As TIME Magazine puts it, Yates’ “great novel is a bitterly funny and bitterly unfunny account of lethal disappointment in the Connecticut suburbs in 1955.” Having just finished reading it, not only can I not imagine it on screen, I definitely cannot see the casting choices in the two main roles: Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. While I think they’re both exceptional actors (or rather, Winslet is and DiCaprio can be), I just don’t want to see this book adapted for film.

It’s an astounding work of fiction, touching on issues and complexities from the time period in a way I’ve never before encountered. It’s a very dark tale but not without humor, and the way in which Yates presents this couple’s experiences – along with comments on the society at the time – feels like a three-dimensional experience. To force it into two dimensions will be to dramatically detract from the story.

Director Sam Mendes is on board for Revolutionary Road, which makes sense in some ways since he was responsible for another stark tale of American suburbia, American Beauty. Thus, I’m not utterly without hope. At the same time, I feel the need to encourage everyone to read Revolutionary Road before it loses its shine on the big screen.

What books do you wish were not made – or were not being made – into films?

Source: BuzzSugar

11 Comments on “Revolutionary Road: Too Good a Book to Be a Movie”

  1. Well this is all a very informative, and quite a strategic article; however, due to the fact that the exceptional actors Dicaprio/Winslet are indeed in this film, that is what makes it every reason to PROVE this article wrong.

    After this film of the adaptational novel, is released, these actors will no longer be EXCEPTIONAL. they will be PHENOMINAL.

    The other novels may or may not have been transferred “exceptionally” well to the film version? However, we won’t know until Revolutionary is released, would we?

    We also don’t know that this article is exceptionally LEGITIMATE.
    Books are never like films; Films are never like books.
    That’s the way it will always be. But give these people in CINEMA a chance to try, and then maybe this film may be the BEST REPLICATION.
    And that’s not an exception.

  2. i agree 100% with Gab. How can you say something like that, before the film has even been released? No one has seen trailers, so no one has a right to say it won’t be a good movie.

    Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio are in this film, and it will be, without a doubt, an excellent movie.

  3. I don’t see the point, if someone doesn’t want to see novels turned into a movie, just don’t go see them!!!

  4. How can they say this ” definitely cannot see the casting choices in the two main roles: Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. While I think they’re both exceptional actors (or rather, Winslet is and DiCaprio can be)” Can be? Have they SEEN Leo DiCaprio. This article disgusts me. After having read the book I can see Kate and Leo giving OSCAR WINNING performances. Whoever wrote this is SERIOUSLY delluded!

  5. Why can’t he see Kate in the role of April?…. She fits her perfectly!( I mean by looks) She looks exactly like the description in the book. Leo doesn’t but that’s ok, I can still see him playing the role! Ah well, time will tell….

  6. a german newspaper wrote that kate shall get the role which nicole kidman got ( she quitted the role because she´s pregnant) .
    it´s the movie of the book ” The Reader” from Bernhard Schlink .
    is that true ?

  7. I totally agree. Obviously if Kate Winslet, Leonardo DeCaprio, Kathy Bates and Sam Mendes are doing this movie there is no reason to say that the movie shouldn’t have been mad !

  8. You’ve heard: Don’t judge a Book by it’s cover – Well then Don’t judge a Movie based on the book – Keep an open mind.

    Why not enjoy both? I admit, I’ve not read many books before I saw the movie but I’ve read lots of books because the movie was based on them. I didn’t think any less of the movie, it was just different. Guess I don’t base my opinion of the movie based on the book. I enjoy each of them as is. I have read “Revolutionary Road” and “The Reader” because I wanted to see what Kate was working on now and I think she is perfect for them both, the casting is great. Yates always wanted it to be a Movie. So I have enjoyed Yates Book and I am looking forward to seeing Sam Mendes’ Movie with Kate and Leo, which I expect to enjoy as well.

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