Posted by: kimberlysullivan | April 14, 2017

Do you hate when a movie adaptation of a novel changes its setting?

How many times has this happened to you?

You read a book, you enjoy it (or maybe you didn’t even enjoy it so much, but you’re still curious about how it could be adapted to the screen) and then you hear the film is coming out. Great, right? But instead of the x original location of the film, the story is now set – inexplicably –  in y.

I really enjoyed Australian author Liane Moriarity’s novel Big Little Lies (click for my review) that was, not surprisingly, set in a beach community in Australia. I was happy to hear it was being adapted into a movie, but rather surprised that it was relocated from the beaches of Australia to the far less interesting beaches of California.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Girl on The Train, but I did like its London suburb/commuter train to London story, and I would have seen the film despite the ho-hum reviews if the whole thing hadn’t bee transported to New York. Why? Is London too exotic?

The same happened with Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It (click for my review). I liked the London setting, and it was very much a part of the book for me, so I was disappointed to see the whole story got moved (um, yet again…) to Manhattan

Then there are the classics. I loved James Fenimore Cooper’s tale The Last of the Mohicans. I probably loved it even more because we had a lake house on Lake George in the Adirondack mountains – the setting for much of the story. The movie is terrific, too, and I love Daniel Day-Louis in that film. But instead of being filmed in the Adirondacks, it was filmed in North Carolina, and the scenery is all different. True, you wouldn’t know if you didn’t know the region, but I found it a disappointment nonetheless.

What about you, readers and film watchers? Are you disappointed when a film changes location from the novel you read and have in your mind? Conversely, have you ever seen an example of a film where the location switch worked better?

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Responses

  1. Oh I would completely hate it myself. I appreciate when even the minutest details are shown in the movie. Btw I DM’d you on Twitter. Please check 🙂

    • Me, too, Ishita. Though I understand movies have to cut out a lot of the great details we love from the novels. : (

  2. I agree. Think of the trouble the author went to in order to establish setting, and then, poof, an Americanized version.

    • Agree – but the world is big and not everything has to be set in California or Manhattan. Wish Hollywood could recognize this…

  3. Not really disappointed, always expect a difference – it could never be the same, but basic changes as locations and so. It isn’t okay… 🙂


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