Aug 20, 2010

Veronika Decides to Die (2009) - not so mad about the film version

directed by Emily Young / starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jonathan Tucker, David Thelwis

I just recently read Paulo Coelho's book Veronika Decides to Die (here's my post about it). This is the film version. (I had a moment of uncertainty as I was wondering which Disney film to watch next - seriously, that's all I've been watching after Paris - and as I wasn't particularly drawn to any of my options, I tapped the situation and chose to see this one instead. Kind of refreshing, I must say! Though I almost expected talking little animal friends to jump from behind a couch and sing a merry little song. Haha.)

The film quite carefully follows the plot of the book it's based on. Veronika now lives in America (though she still has Slovenian parents), but considers her seemingly perfect life just as worthless as the book's Veronika does. She decides to take an overdose of sleeping pills to finish it all, but ends up in a phychiatric insitution called, again, Villette, where she's told that her heart will fail her any day now. And that's when she begins to find a will to live.

I've never been the biggest fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar, but I think she makes a pretty good Veronika. She sure looks miserable, but doesn't over-do it. Jonathan Tucker plays Edward (an Americanized version of the book's Eduard) and he's cute and sounds just like Tobey Maguire and mostly just sits in a tree and stares with those big eyes of his. David Thelwis plays Dr Blake, who's in charge of Villette, and he only reminds of that lousy movie version of Remus Lupin.

The other patiens don't get as much attention as they do in the book, which is understandable but still a shame. They concentrate mostly on what happens between Veronika and Edward. The discussion about the concept of 'mad' was my favourite thing in the book, but it's been forced to give room to the personal story of Veronika. Also, the film doesn't quite succeed in creating the mood the book did from first page on. That's why a story like this is better written.

PS: In one scene they played a very nice Swedish song. Damn you, Swedes. You win again.

"I wasn't myself last night... or maybe I really was."

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