No. of Recommendations: 1
Red, your review of this movie is terrific. It's lucid, has clarity, and is right. I really enjoyed reading it.

By coincidence, I just saw the movie this evening. I think it's possible the movie is better written than the book. Hornby is listed as one of the executive producers, which is nice: one imagines the changes made in the plot had his sign-off. In every case I can think of, those changes made the story better, tighter, more coherent.


The book has a series of scenes after Fiona returns from the hospital, where poor Marcus is desperately trying to elevate her mood. He chooses a comedy for them to rent: Groundhog Day. Then becomes dismayed when halfway thru it Bill Murray starts trying to kill himself, over and over. Fiona is laughing her @$$ off, but Marcus can't stand it and he rips the tape out of the VCR. This scene, and others like it, did not make it into the movie. Those scenes were very much in Marcus' head, and they might have been tough to transfer to film: heck, maybe they didn't want to get permission to use scenes from another movie. Instead they compressed it by showing Marcus' fear of opening his door at home, which worked really well.

More important was the decision to re-work the third act. In the book the crisis centers around Marcus' girlfriend running away and Marcus going with her - I think he's afraid she'll do something stupid, perhaps hurt himself. In the movie, the crisis is strictly around Marcus, and I think that works better. Keeps the story tighter. The book is strangely unfocused, which the movie is not.

By the way, I was halfway expecting Grant to get Marcus to perform that rap song (Shake Your Ass) instead of Killing Me Softly. What happened instead was much better, with Will sharing in Marcus' situation and supporting him. I loved the ending too, the next Christmas. I believe the neat little thing with the Amnesty International guy was also not in the book - a nice touch. The change in Marcus and his body language was very noticeable.

Really a well-done little movie.

For fans of Hornby, I think High Fidelity is a better book than About a Boy. My roommate really liked "About", so maybe I'm wrong. But watching this movie makes me think Hornby needed some more time and editing to finalize the story. And with the movie, he got it.
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