Director: Richard LaGravenese
Writer: Richard LaGravenese
Based on: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s novel
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann, Emma Thompson, Eileen Atkins, Margo Martindale, Zoey Deutch
Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) lives in the small South Carolina town of Gatlin. Ever since his mother’s death, his father pretty much hasn’t left his room and Ethan is taking care of him. He dreams of college and leaving. But recently he’s been having strange dreams of a girl. And then Lena (Alice Englert) shows up at his school. She’s the niece of the town’s supposed madman Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons). Ethan feels an instant connection with Lena, even recognizes her as the girl he dreamt about. But even more crazy things happen around and to Lena, and time is running out for her.
What the movie did to this book was incredible. From a nice, if not great young adult story, it was turned into a misogynistic, illogical, offensive crapfest. I actually had to shout DAFUQ several times.
The movie starts off with portraying Ethan, who is a teenager with all the overdramatic faults that brings with it in the book, as an absolute asshole (seriously, the way he treats his ex-who-doesn’t-even-know-she’s-his-ex? DAFUQ). It then goes on to conflate the two black characters in the book into one person, because who could deal with two black women in one film, amirite? DAFUQ.
But then it gets really bad. So, instead of the Ravenwood/Duchannes family being cursed with the lack of choice between dark and light (as in the book), it’s all women, while men are completely fine. [It even extends to Amma, the movie’s literal magic negro.] DAFUQ. Ancestor Genevieve brings her love back to life, only to kill him again. DAFUQ.
I could continue to list the movie’s plot holes and misogyny (Ridley’s [Emmy Rossum] being evil by being sexy). I won’t, as there are so many more levels the movie fails at but with which it is at least hilarious. there is a scene where Lena sits heartbroken in front of the fireplace with the appropriate sad piano soundtrack. Then the camera swirls around to reveal… Jeremy Irons actually playing the piano. Or the scene where Ethan asks Lena to listen to how quiet things are and the soundtrack is so loud and intrusive that it’s really not quiet at all.
There are a few things that were actually good. First of all, there’s Emma Thompson, who is hilarious and pitch-prefect and awesome. Second, there’s actual chemistry between Ethan and Lena and when they’re just two teenagers in love, it works great. Third, there’s a scene where Macon basically abuses Ethan and it is brilliant moment of creepiness. And lastly, you can watch the film and you won’t be spoiled for the book. Because the book makes sense and isn’t sexist.
Summarising: Hell no. Wait until the Emma Thompson scenes hit youtube and watch just them.