Things Heard & Seen
April 29, 2021
Starring: Amanda Seyfried & James Norton
All Things Cease to Appear
March 8, 2016
Alfred A Knopf
Oh dear readers....where do I even begin on this one?
First let me tell you, I LOVE A GREAT GHOST STORY, so when I saw the trailer for this on my weekly Netflix email, I set out to investigating. The bonus for me was it had one of my "actors that make me actually pay attention" in it. Yup, James Norton is in it. Ya know James Norton, that freaking DYNAMIC actor of Grantchester, McMafia, Happy Valley fame. I could go on. This guy is just that big of an acting genius to me.
When the Netflix trailer included that it was based on a best selling novel, being the bibliophile I am, I set out to research and quickly learned it was based off ALL THINGS CEASE TO APPEAR by Elizabeth Brundage. It would be read by the time the movie hit Netflix and I easily hit that goal.
So, now...who wore it better. Hands down, in typical Hollywood fashion, the book far surpassed the movie in quality. From here on, we go deep into spoiler territory. Just a warning.
There were critical elements to the backstory of this ghost story that the movie leaves out. Instead of focusing on those elements, the movie focuses on the backstory to the Clares. I could not figure this out. The backstory to the Hales was CRITICAL to the understanding of the book and movie. It was critical to understanding the attachment of the Hale boys to the home, as well as the reason for the haunting by their mother. The screenwriters not only all but ignored it, they changed it into something just plain goofy.
Due to starting with the backstory of the Clares, the movie was unable to start with a mystery like was done in the book. As the story unfolded, several people could have killed Catherine Clare. Could it have been George? Could it have been one of George's lovers? Could it have been Eddy Hale? The list could go on. Because the movie opened with Catherine Clare very much alive, we were not afforded the ability to experience this movie as the mystery that it was written. We were left with a ghost story and a poor one at that.
Let me tell you, one of the biggest disappointments that I had in this movie was that it failed to show George in just the evil "pigamuffin" that the book captured. In some ways, I thought the book was light on George and heavier on Catherine as a whack job.
There were also scenes in this movie that I felt were left hanging. For example, the shower masturbation scene was a very important scene in the book that was left hanging in the movie. It was such an important scene that it was brought up at least one other time in the book.
The special effects on this movie, particularly at the end, were just laughable. I can't even expound on that one.
Now, Netflix, I'd like the two hours it took me to watch this movie back, please! It is because of movies like this that we cannot have nice things, and I'd love Hollywood to just keep their hands off great books.
So, my final ratings:
Book: 4 Stars
Movie: 1 Star
Skip the movie...READ THE BOOK!
So, now you'll please excuse me while I go watch James in the she THE NEVERS on HBO and forget this experience with him ever happened. As the saying goes...they all can't be winners.