I have this obsession with reading a book before its movie. Of course, this only applies to storylines that interest me. If a story isn't as catchy to me or not a genre I typically enjoy, I'll likely watch the movie and never read the book. I learned this the hard way about 15 years ago while going through my Nicholas Sparks stage. Message in a Bottle was on TV and I watched it with my then boyfriend (now husband)'s family...only to find that when I tried to pick up my copy of the book later I just couldn't read it. The story was ruined, even if the movie had changed parts. And it's hard to read a book you already know the story of when there are so many books waiting to be read. But watching a book come to life is altogether another thing.
So, all that to say that I finally read The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick, so that I could watch the movie. The previews always looked interesting, but I'd never paid full attention and knew nothing about the story going into it. Needless to say, I was caught off guard, not expecting so much football (okay, playbook, I know, but still, there's lots of football) and mental illness. None of that seemed to come through the previews to me.
The book centers on Pat Peoples as he re-enters civilian life with his parents after living for years in a mental institution he calls "the bad place." Not knowing how he landed there or how long it has been, Pat has trouble adjusting to life due to complications he can't quite put his finger on. His family tiptoes around the touchy parts of the years gone by, even by not telling Pat it has been years since he's been gone! Through living life with his parents, brother, and friends, Pat begins to readjust to relationships and the quirks of his new mindset. Focused on becoming a better person and reuniting with his wife, Pat gives an inside look at how mental illness fights against the best of intentions. Not to mention the shocking way in which he ended up there.
The story flowed easily and well. The only hard part I had a hard time adjusting to is that Pat is 34 years old and his thought process seems to be on the level of a pre-teen. I can see where certain thoughts and behavior are affected by his mental illness and lack of memory, but the overall tone of a younger kid just kept throwing me off. Although this could just be my own ignorance on the subject.
It really threw me off in the movie though because the movie shortens the time Pat had been locked away and he is fully aware of why he was admitted and where his relationship stands for the most part. So his pre-teen behavior really doesn't add up. But, on the other hand, it was funny watching Jennifer Lawrence (as Tiffany) and Bradley Cooper (as Pat) interact as two "crazy" people falling in love. Many, many things were changed in the movie, but at least those two characters coming to life was amusing enough to make the movie worth watching. It makes me anxious to see Serena, where Cooper and Lawrence star as a couple as well. The movie hasn't made it to a U.S. opening as far as I know, but here's my review of the book.
Which book-to-movie didn't come out close enough to the book for you? Was the movie still worth watching?