Sandra Dussault

What did you think of the movie adaptation of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist ?

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Kalli It's probably hard for me to answer this question just because this book has come to define such a large part of my life. I really didn't like the movie. I felt that it just wasn't the right medium for the message that was being told, which wasn't really about music, or partying, or even having an end goal but about the fact that life is scary, unpredictable, and will throw you curve balls but that it's up to you to surround yourself with people who you can trust to get you through it.

The entire plot of the movie was changed for the sake of it being...well a movie. As it is a movie there had to be a specific goal in mind: find Caroline, versus the book which is very much about taking a risk, and setting out into this scary, mystery that is life with no plan in the hopes that everything will work out. However, the fact that Norah spends most of the movie searching for Caroline really compromises Nick and Norah's relationship. In the book Norah and Nick are discovering each other on purpose, Norah runs away and then she comes back, or Nick retreats into himself before snapping out of it. The story and narrative is driven by their intentional discovery of each other and themselves no by a the need to resolve a plot. In the movie this is lost because it seems that the characters are forced together more so by circumstance than by choice. In this way there is no active effort being made on their part to get over their respective exes and move-on, it's more of just a side effect of being stuck in the same van searching for Caroline. This really affects their characters. For example, Nick comes off a lot more mopey; in the book his sadness over Tris is also edged with bitterness, versus in the movie it is defined by blue-lit, ethereal scenes that make him out to be a lost, nerdy boy who will never get past Tris.

Another thing that made me really sad about the movie is the way it approaches the relationships between Tris, Caroline, and Norah. I come from an all-girls school background and the relationships between these three girls really reminded me of that when I read the book (i.e. it was authentic.) In fact when I forced one of my closest friends to read the book one of his first comments was that the female relationships in the book really reminded him of the way I describe my own relationships with girls at my schools. This is because even though Norah and Caroline don't necessarily like Tris they are still quite familiar, i.e. they're close enough that Norah has listened to Nick's mixtapes, and some of Tris' flirting tricks were taught to her by Norah (the back of the car phone call). Further, Tris is never outright mean to Norah in the book, passive aggressive sure, but they clearly have a past and the issue is less about how she treats Norah and more about how she has treated Nick. In the movie they are all reduced to caricatures. Norah becomes the outcast, Tris becomes the popular mean girl who has picked on the outcast, and Caroline becomes the drunk, dumb one. They're relationship is squashed in the interest in telling an underdog story; (Norah is clearly not suppose to be an underdog by the way, she is rich, smart, and attractive, her problems are not defined by society but by her own ability to shut down her emotions, and push people away).

Finally the movie focuses way too much on keeping in small, meaningful symbols as opposed to actually meaningful moments (maybe this was a budget thing). Meaningful, material symbols I can think of include Salvatore's jacket, and the Yugo, and meaningful moments that were left out or butchered include moments such as the 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' Monologue. I capitalize it because this was one of the most important parts of the book. It is important because it is said by Dev, a notorious 'man-whore' for lack of a better term who truly believes in the idea that love is simple, and not sexual, almost more-so like a friendship than anything, which contrasts the stereotypical image of his character. In the movie this is spoken by Thom, and that ruins it. Throughout the story Thom and his boyfriend are already exhibiting a healthy relationship and this has not had an impact on Nick through out his break up with Tris. Nick has become a cynic, and turns to people like Dev as evidence as to why maybe its best not to risk it all on one person like he did with Tris. This is why it is so significant when Dev tells him that love is not only possible but simple. This entire night Nick has been over analyzing his relationship with Norah and here is Dev explaining that his own non-monogamous behavior is not evidence that love cannot happen but evidence that when you have a feeling you need to follow it or love will NEVER happen. This is what allows Nick to take a chance on Norah, and move past Tris.

Let's be real, the book is written in beautiful prose that does not transpose well into a movie script. Too much of the story is meant to be self-reflective, and internal and that is difficult to do when you can't show a character's thought process, or inner-monologue. The movie is probably a great indie flick if you haven't read the book, but if you've read the book and had it resonate with you the way I have than it will be a disappointment.
Saim Cheeda I would suggest to skip the book and just watch the movie.
oScar the book is infinitesimally superior to the movie. while most book-to-movie adaptations fall short of expectation, I find that this particular example shouldn't even be referred to as such.
Shannen I liked the movie until I read the book. It was a terrible adaptation. Granted, many movie adaptations are disappointing if you really loved the book they were based off of (and I really loved this one). The movie felt way too scripted, like they were trying to fit it into this idea of a teen movie, as opposed to the organic more "this could actually happen" feeling you get from the book. And I hated the way they twisted the integrity of the characters (Nick and Norah themselves most noticeably) for the film. They are much stronger and more interesting people in the book (I suspect this was done in some misguided attempt to heighten the dynamic).
Jen Jones I thought the film script was far preferable to the novel. The tone of the film was much more indie (which suited the music theme from the novel) and the ending was better.
Gosia The movie was definitely lighter than the book to me, the book was more serious in tone. I didn't like the fact they switched everything around (or most of it) but when I look at the mvoie forgetting it was (loosely) based on a book -it's a pretty good indie movie :) I mostly missed the comparisons and culture references from the book.
Anna Katrina I liked it. Yes, the adaptation is a bit far off from the book but if you look at the movie for what it is, you will appreciate it and the actors' portrayals of the characters.
Kat Terrible. I like the actors and they did a good job, but the script was just bad.
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