Monday, 9 November 2015

Book vs. Adaptation | Carrie by Stephen King

Today I'm back with another Book vs. Adaptation post! So far I've done Sarah Waters' Fingersmith (here!), Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey (here!), Neil Gaiman's Coraline (here!) and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca (here and here!), and today I'm going to be talking about the 2013 adaptation of Stephen King's debut novel, Carrie.

I read Carrie for the first time last month - it was one of the books on my Halloween TBR - and you can check out my book review here. I'd never seen any adaptations of Carrie before, I wanted to read the book first, and once I'd read the book I decided to seek out the most recent adaptation.

Carrie was published in 1974, and is the novel that started Stephen King's impressive career. The most famous adaptation is the one that followed two years later, in 1976, starring Sissy Spacek, but when I sought out an adaptation I immediately gravitated towards Kimberly Peirce's 2013 adaptation, starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Carrie White and Julianne Moore as her mother, Margaret. Why? Purely because I really like Julianne Moore and Chloë Grace Moretz, neither of whom are strangers to book adaptations.

Chloë Grace Moretz is something of an adaptation veteran; she's been in Let Me In (2010), Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2011), Hugo (2011), and If I Stay, and she'll soon be hitting our cinemas in the starring role of J Blakeson's adaptation of The 5th Wave. She was even considered for the part of Katniss - speaking of The Hunger Games, Julianne Moore is well-known for playing the part of President Coin in the franchise, and she also played Clarice Starling in Ridley Scott's adaptation of Hannibal. Both of them are pretty great actresses, so I was eager to see their portrayals of Carrie and Margaret White.

My dad and I sat down and watched this on Halloween - what's Halloween without a fitting film after all? - and the two of us enjoyed it!

Honestly? I actually enjoyed this more than the book, though if you've seen my review you'll know I found the latter half of the book to be a bit of a shambles. This film is a lot more concise, and I loved the extra scenes that were added; in the book the story is interspersed with pieces of 'non-fiction' all about telekinesis, and I was wondering how that was going to be included in this film. Unlike the book, which is set in the '70s, this adaptation is set in our present day, meaning there's more technology; characters have iPhones and Carrie uses YouTube to research telekinesis, which I thought was a really nice touch. In the book she does practice her own gifts, but she doesn't seem to wonder if anyone else is like her which I thought was a little odd.

I think this adaptation is acted very well, too. Moretz is a heart-breaking and believable Carrie and, after her portrayal of Mia in If I Stay, has cemented herself in my list of brilliant young actors. Naturally Julianne Moore is a fantastic Margaret White, and I thought the other cast members were great; Ansel Elgort was a charming Tommy, which I wasn't expecting if I'm perfectly honest, and I loved Judy Greer as Miss Desjardin and Portia Doubleday as Chris Hargensen.

I know quite a lot of Carrie fans were disappointed with this adaptation because they felt that too much was cut, but I don't think this film lost anything; I love a good disaster sequence as much as anyone else, but there's only so much I can watch before a film starts to get boring and repetitive, and for me this adaptation is a perfect balance of the horrifically sublime and the tensely subdued.

Whether you've read the book or not I recommend this adaptation! It's a particularly good film for people out there who don't like horror films - I guarantee this won't scare you.

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