There have been many great love stories written in this world. Some of the love stories involve multiple characters, some involve love triangles, and the most tragic of all stories involve loveless marriages. Each of these stories is filled with intricate story-lines and intense emotions. However, when Hollywood gets a hold of these stories, it uses a simplistic formula to turn them into predictable and mundane movies.
In the book The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond (the count) is separated from his beloved Mercedes because he has to serve a jail sentence for a crime he did not commit. After nearly two decades of jail time and adventures, he is reunited with the love of his youth. Although she recognizes him, neither of them want to rekindle their romance. He’s is busy plotting revenge, she is busy with family problems, and the love they had for each other had been killed by his twenty year absence. However, the count does not need to mourn his lost love, because he falls in love with another. Hollywood could not handle the idea of two main characters no longer in love with each other. In the movie, The The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond’s love for Mercedes does not fade, and his beloved is willing to risk gangrene when she spends twenty years wearing a piece of twine (which represents Edmond’s love) on her finger. After a series of misunderstandings and dramatic scenes, the two star crossed lovers end up together. Luckily for Edmond, the son that she had from another marriage during his absence, turns out to be secretly his. The perfect ending!
In the book Chocolat, Vianne falls in love with a man named Roux. After dances under the stars and town fires, she realizes that he is a good man whom she loves. She is happy when she discovers she is pregnant with his child. However, despite her discovery, she still notices the innocent glances between him and her friend Josephine. Vianne had always been able to predict things before they happen, and she realizes that although neither Josephine nor Roux have realized it yet, the two of them are soul mates. Although Vianne’s feelings for Roux do not fade on command, she realizes she was a passing fancy for him on his journey to true love. Like all stories of unrequited love, this one leaves the reader with a bittersweet feeling. However, Hollywood did not feel their viewers could handle a bittersweet ending. In the movie Chocolat, Roux only has eyes for Vianne. The movies ends with a strong and obvious hint that the two of them will have a happily ever after.
The book The Painted Veil explores the marriage of Kitty and Walter Fane. He is a serious scientist, she is a socialite who enjoys playing cards, and they don’t have any similar hobbies or interests. So Kitty finds herself a lover with whom she does have similar hobbies and interests. When Walter finds out, he punishes Kitty by forcing her to go with him to a village that has been plagued with cholera. In this village, away from the distractions of civilization, Kitty realizes her husband is a smart and compassionate man. She begins to admire him. However, admiration is not love. One might admire Gandhi, but that does not mean they want to marry him. Towards the end of the book, Walter dies from Cholera, and although Kitty is sad about his death (after all is always sad when a person dies, especially a good person), a part of her is relieved. Although she had grown to appreciate her husband, she still found him boring, and the idea of being married to him for the rest of her life did not appeal to her. However, Hollywood does not believe in making movies with such lukewarm feelings. In the movie The Painted Veil, Kitty falls madly in love with Walter, and she is soaked with grief when Walter dies. The audience is forced to witness an ironic tragedy when a selfish woman loses her husband who she had only recently started to love. In Hollywood, love has to end either happily or tragically.
When a book is turned into a movie, changes often have to be made. Most movies tend to have a two hour time limit, and because of this certain scenes have to be cut. Sometimes scenes have to be added to show some of the inner monologues that are so common in books. However, when Hollywood gets its paws on a book, it chews and tears the book until it is turned into a generic story. Does it bother you when movies that are based on books have altered story-lines?