There is a common saying: “the book is always better than the movie.” It has become such a cliché that few seem to even stop to think about whether or not it's true (“Lord of the Rings,” anyone?). The idea, I suppose, is that when one reads a book, the reader is able to use their own vivid imagination to fill in the blanks, and when someone comes along with a different vision, it can be disappointing. I, personally, think this is a ridiculous way of thinking – film and literature are two separate artistic mediums and should each be viewed on their own merits regardless of pre-existing properties. Besides, the track record shows that even though many people think “the book is always better,” bestselling books still get constantly adapted to film, because the movie studios know people will pay to see them.
Let's take, for example, “The Help.” Kathryn Stockett wrote the novel in 2009. It promptly won all sorts of awards, sold millions of copies, and spent over a hundred weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. It wasn't long before a film adaptation was greenlit, and thus was born a film about African-Americans overcoming racism in a way that made white audiences everywhere feel really good about themselves.
“The Help” tells the story of Skeeter (Emma Stone), an aspiring journalist living in Mississippi in the 1960s, and her relationship with two black maids. After observing the way “the help” is treated as less-than-human, she decides to talk to as many maids as she can in order to write a book about their plight.
“The Help” plays for free this evening at 8:30 at the Iroquois Amphitheater for this week's Metro Council Movie Night. The amphitheater is located in Iroquois Park, at 1080 Amphitheater Road.
Image: Internet Movie Database