I can’t help but love a good love story. Even if it is in the middle of a bad-ass sci-fi thriller or violent horror film I can’t help but root for love to win out. It may not be my main focus for watching something, but if it is there, I support it. I do this especially when it comes to novels. I don’t know if it is because it takes so long for a resolution when reading (say a few days to finish the book rather than 2 hours to finish a movie) but when reading, I become incredibly emotionally invested in the lives and loves of the characters.
That is why I hate when a character I have loved and invested in is ruined when brought to the big screen. Lovers, couples, burgeoning crushes, and heartfelt lifetimes together mean nothing if the actors playing those characters suck (or even the writing sucks in some cases.)
So here are three book couples that were ruined when brought to the silver screen.
Emma and Dexter – One Day
“Do you want to awkward almost kiss for this whole movie?” “Yes!”
I’ve written on here before about how much I hated the movie adaptation of the novel One Day by David Nicholls. In my mind it was terrible, losing all of the charm and wit on the novel. However, one of the big reasons I disliked it were the lead actors. Normally I love Anna Hathaway, she is incredibly talented and gorgeous. Same with Jim Sturgess, I mean he was FANTASTIC in Across the Universe. But the two of them together? NO CHEMISTRY.
The lives of Emma and Dexter were twisty and complicated with missed opportunities and sexual tension that was interlaced with comedic moments/ heartbreak and clever conversation. The Emma and Dexter of the film were awkward, clunky, and full of uncomfortable moments where I wished it would hurry to the conclusion.
“No one is ever going to believe we are a couple…”
I blame part of this unfortunate casting choice on the director who was easily bribed into hiring Hathaway who is not british and who’s accent was unwieldy and cumbersome. The director initially wanted a british actress to play the british character but Hathaway insisted on the part despite his reservations going so far as sending him a mix tape on why she should get it. Clearly she wouldn’t give up and he gave in. It seems this forced casting might have been a mistake.
Overall, the lack of chemistry between these actors have pushed this fictional couple from cute to unpleasant.
If only Dexter and Emma’s robotic love was as cute as this.
Clare and Henry – The Time Traveler’s Wife
“What year is this? Are you old enough to bone yet?”
I want to get this straight right off the bat. This is one of my favorite books ever written. I have probably read it 12 times. But the movie version? AWFUL. I have seen it once and probably never will again.
Honestly, this book is long, with ever changing point of views, years, and settings. I never thought it would become a movie because of its complex nature, and when it did, I wasn’t surprised by how many people felt it was convoluted and illogical. It really does not translate well to the big screen and because of that neither does the romantic nature of Clare and Henry.
This one has nothing to do with the actors, unlike the top entry. This has to do with the nature of the storyline. Clare knows Henry since she is 6 years old, but he only meets her when he is 28 and she is 20 – that alone would be difficult to transfer to a visual medium but also take note that the book is several hundred pages long, and constantly switches between her point of view at various ages, and his at various ages. To get depth and inherently loveliness and heartache of their relationship, nothing should be glossed over. Unfortunately not everything could be added into the movie, and to compensate several scenes were added into the film making it even worse.
As a fan I felt like the characters I loved and rooted for were nonexistent in the film and replaced with standard characters in an a standard romantic drama. And maybe I actually hated Eric Bana as Henry.
“I’m so torn on marrying you because I just saw you as a 6 year old and I naked… awkward.”
Katniss and Peeta – The Hunger Games Trilogy
“Ugh is he still staring at me?”
Everyone who has seen the film adaptation of The Hunger Games after reading the novel knows they left A LOT out. They also could probably tell that Katniss went from a resourceful smart heroin to merely a lucky survivor with emotionally cold tendencies.
The whole time I read the trilogy I was all about some Peeta and Katniss. I loved them together and I wanted so badly for them to be happy together. Through out the first book, we know Katniss is confused about her feelings, we know she feels something for Peeta that she can’t define or refuses to define yet (which honestly does continue till the end of the series). Yet the film made her seem cold and manipulative. We don’t see her struggling over Peeta and Gale internally but we do see her playing up her feelings for the camera.
I mean yes, in the book she also plays up her feelings for sponsors and help, but there are several instances where she acts because she wants to and because she cares, not just because the cameras are watching. And much of it has to do with the writing. I know that it is difficult to adapt a first person narrative in to a third person film. However, much of the underlying psychological issues of Katniss are lost in the film version making her seems superficial and selfish when book Katniss is not.
“Do you think he bought it?”
It is hard to be “Team Peeta” based on the movie when the film lacks any allusion to her having even the tiniest bit of real feelings toward him. However, we have two/three more movies to go, lets hope for the best. And lets face it I’ll always be Team Peeta… who’s arms smell of bread…