Here is the situation. When I was in Europe between my junior and senior of college I began to read Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer. I loved it so much, that when I noticed that he had as second novel, I picked it up and devoured it immediately. It is no understatament to say that this book changed my life. It didn’t change my life in the way a self help book does, or a book that brings to light social travesties … it changed the way that I interacted with literature. It gave me a favorite book. It gave me a present to give to people who I care about. It gave me a passion.
So that is back story…
Now you know that the book has become a movie. The critics and viewers are not loving this at all. I went to see it this weekend, even though it has a 49% rating on RT and 6.2 stars on IMDB.
The most common complaints I see are that Oskar is annoying, that they did a terrible job making a 9/11 movie. Most reviews are negative. However, reading them all, it’s clear to me that there should be two categories of reviews: people who read the book, and people who didn’t.
Here are my thoughts, mind you, these are the thoughts of someone who has read the book around 9 times and cried when she found out Tom Hanks was going to be playing Thomas Schell.
Thomas Horn was an excellent choice for Oskar.
Oskar is a weird kid. He is an extremely odd and intelligent boy who is ultimately 9 years old. Choosing a child, who is a boy genius was one of the best casting decisions I have seen. Here is a kid who is so smart that he teaches himself how to act. He is so believable as Oskar. I do wish he would have said some of my favorite phrases such as “Jose!”
I am so happy that it wasn’t a Tom Hanks show.
This story is about Oskar, not Thomas Schell. Some critics have complained that Tom Hanks was not in the movie enough. He wasn’t supposed to be. The story is not about him, it includes him.
I was confused by what was left out.
There were multiple times throughout the film when I thought to myself Hmm, that’s missing. It’s inevitable, yes. I know that not everything in an entire novel can be included. There were parts in the book that were so monumental, that I don’t really understand how they could have been left out.
In the end, I need to see the movie again. Everyone I saw it with cried many times. I wasn’t moved to tears because I was doing too much analyzing. Part of me is mournful that I have now lost the “I wish they would make this a movie” feeling. I am also sad to no longer have the anticipation. The truth is I am happy. I will still recommend the book to everyone that I meet and I will always love everything by Mr. Safran Foer. I invite you to watch the movie and judge it for yourself.