I just finished reading The Talented Mr. Ripley. I saw the movie years ago and thought it was pretty blah, so I never bothered with the book. But then my friend Jen praised Patricia Highsmith, and she’s never steered me wrong with her book recommendations, so I picked up Ripley at the library.
Boy, did the moviemakers jack that one up.
Matt Damon played Ripley all wrong, although that may have been the fault of the script since so much of Tom’s scheming is just in his head. Gwyneth Paltrow is horribly miscast, since her appearance is the opposite of every word used to describe Marge except for “blonde” and “female.” And Jude Law is too smarmy (although that describes Jude Law pretty much all the time).
They even changed the plot, putting a completely different ending on the movie, which seems designed to make Ripley more sympathetic when he doesn’t really deserve that. Ripley’s the bad guy—that’s what’s interesting and unique about the way the book plays out.
The story is exciting and engaging from the first few pages—Highsmith throws you right into an intriguing plot while giving you hints of a mysterious backstory, which comes together piece by piece throughout the book. It’s what I’m striving for as I work on my novel manuscript.
That’ll show me, letting a crappy Jude Law movie (yes, I blame him, just because I can) dictate my reading choices.
What are your favorite book-to-movie adaptations? Which ones are the Worst Ever?
Photo: Courtesy of Shaka, Wikimedia Commons