So this weekend a group of us went to the cinema to see Labor Day. [see photo: Kathy (my mom), Sandy, Tracy, Karla, Sheri, me, Michalene, Karin and Sue. Kim joined us after the previews]. Out of all of us, only one of us had not read the book…Sandy. And she was confused, but I will get to that in a bit. We all felt the movie was basically true to the book…basically. There were bizarre changes that we did not understand….using rope to tie Adele up instead of silk scarves, for one. And there were some changes we could understand: for example the character of Frank was depicted a bit more creepy in the beginning of the movie than the book. I am sure this was to appear more realistic to the movie goer. In the same manner, Adele is portrayed differently in the movie than the book. In the book she was indifferent even reckless about Frank’s request to take him home. As we all read the book, we were shocked that a mother would put her 13 year-old son in danger so easily. The translation to screen changed Adele’s manner to be frightened and apprehensive and even protective of her son Henry. However, she just is not a strong-willed person, so she easily allows Frank to take charge and change their lives.
We didn’t like why certain information was left out: the abortion and most of Frank’s background story. We appreciated that Adele finally was able to tell her story to Frank, and we were able to understand her sadness a little clearer, but we never fully grasped what Frank’s back story truly is. We see his story in bizarre flashbacks which we, the readers, were able to piece together to make sense. Yet, Sandy (who did not read the book) was left confused and did not feel she could sympathize with Frank…she did not see him in a positive light…just creepy.
We all agreed that we were happy not to see Henry’s first sexual encounter displayed on the screen. Something we did not need to visually witness. We were also pleased that the scenes with Barry did not include Frank bathing him and cutting his nails…yes, it showed his compassion, but again….creepy. We feel they were able to show Frank’s compassionate side in other ways and we applaud that decision.
The ending was something we were not happy with…we were left to question who turned Frank in….Henry’s father or the neighbor? When in reality (the book) it was the angst-ridden teen that Henry meets in town who turned him in for the reward money. Why was this altered?
Though not of us loved the book, we all preferred it over the film….which is usually the case. Sandy is going to read the book now because she felt that there were too many holes in the film for her, and she felt the need to fill them immediately.