thatcow

Novel was better?

It was a number of years ago I read the novel by Nora Ephron, and while I don't remember it that well, I remember enough to know the movie is diluted. It's not unusual for that to happen in adaptation, but there's something fundamental here.

Meryl Streep plays a food columnist who marries Jack Nicholson, also a columnist, they have babies and marital woes from here on. Now, the key thing about the novel was that this was all stitched together through food - special recipes she cooked, and whatever other culinary events that happened along the way. In the movie, the connection to food is still present, but it's often just there in the background, something that the characters talk about, without the same meaning that was present in the title.

Now, I also don't remember being that wild about the book, so maybe this restructuring was an improvement. The interesting thing to note is that Heartburn is based on Ephron's own life, and her marriage with Carl Bernstein.

I have a problem with the last scene, consisting of Streep and the older child doing "itsy bitsy spider" on a plane, waiting to take off. It stretches credibility that very many people on that plane would be able to stand for that very long, at that volume at least. And then that song bleeds out into the end credits. What? This is odd. Are we to understand that motherhood is the only foundation for a positive future for this woman? I don't get that out of the movie.

So, those are my nitpicks about everything, but the acting is still good - it's Streep and Nicholson, after all. Occasionally, the camera is doing something "interesting" that fails because it just brings attention to itself. Not a bad way of spending time if you are just watching the actors and the emotion in the scenes. Also keep your eyes open for Kevin Spacey's first film role.

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