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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.



Book to Movie: Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman

A couple weeks ago, I watched "Love in the Time of Cholera" because I recently read the book. I gave the movie 3 stars, and the book 2.5. So, I wasn't a fan of the book, and my husband makes fun of me for watching movies for books I didn't like. But what can I say? I'm just a completist. (Also, if you didn't like the book you don't have to worry about the movie "ruining" it. In fact, sometimes it even improves the experience.)


If you liked the book, you should definitely check out the movie. The acting is good, the costumes and setting are beautiful, and overall it is a very lush and well-done film. It's also surprisingly faithful to the book -- and I say surprisingly just because it seems so many Hollywood adaptations of books resemble their source material in title and character names only.


There was one thread in the book that they left out of the movie, to its detriment, I think. In the book, Florentino has a friendship with a woman who has risen through the ranks in his place of work. At one point, the book has him wishing she were a prostitute so that he could sleep with her, even if he would have to pay her to do so. This is because, when he does get around to propositioning her, she turns him down. Never in their long friendship does she allow it to become sexual. 


This relationship was completely eliminated from the movie, which gives the viewer the impression that every woman in the world that Ariza ever wanted, he got. Except, of course, Fermina Daza. Which really just cements my interpretation that "Love in the Time of Cholera" is mostly a horny-man's fantasy, and the fact that it is written well and portrayed on film skillfully and beautifully allows it to be considered "high art" instead. But Florentino comes across as just as skeezy in the movie, and I was just as repulsed by him as in the book. 


The book also made a second concession: it aged Florentino's 14-year-old lover (who was also his ward) into a college student. This makes a HUGE difference, because while a 71-year-old who sleeps with a college student is still pretty much a dirty old man, he is no longer a pedophile or a child abuser. Although the movie directors wisely surmised that probably nothing could bring the viewer back to sympathy with Florentino after seeing him in bed with a youngster, in some ways I think the movie does the viewer a disservice in glossing over what a skeeze Florentino really was. 


So, similarly to the book, a beautiful execution was not enough to save a truly puerile and sickening protagonist.