Repost of a rather brief review of a movie I’ve wanted/not wanted to watch for some time. This was originally posted on my Flixster account, which I suppose could partially account for its brevity. Also, I find if I’m not interested in a movie too much, I’m apparently not interested in discussing it much!
It really pains me to give a low rating to a film starring Anthony Hopkins, but with Hearts in Atlantis, I’m afraid I must. As a constant reader of Stephen King, I must protest that this film does absolutely no justice to the book. None. Not that I’m surprised, as this is frequently what happens to King’s fantastic writings, particularly in recent offerings. At least this movie can stand on its own and be a heartwarming story, instead of turning into what could only be described as a craptastic movie. (Remember It? Yeah, I didn’t think so.)
Don’t get me wrong; the acting itself was wonderful. The kid who played Bobby was nearly as good as Sir Hopkins, whom I believe is incapable of bad acting. The relationship-building between man and boy was done well. And yes, I admit I shed a tear at the end. But the ending in particular is so vastly different from the book as to betray the entire concept of the novel. Thank goodness I watched this movie at home, because the credits hadn’t even rolled before I had the book in my hand, re-reading the ending, just to be sure that I remembered it correctly. I will never understand the penchant filmmakers have to take a perfectly good story and fundamentally change it in its retelling. After all, if the book was a good enough subject to inspire a movie, isn’t it good enough to retell properly? I understand that, given King’s particular style of writing, it’s rather difficult for that to transfer well to another medium. However, I don’t believe that was the issue here. I think instead it was screenwriter William Goldman’s intent for this film to play less like Misery and more like The Princess Bride.
And so, I will remain a defender of both the superb acting skills of Sir Anthony Hopkins and also the incredibly unique writing style of Mr. Stephen King. Enjoy the film if you like. Just don’t read the book first.