A film adaptation failure

The movie “All the Bright Places” does not meet expectations

All the Bright Places stars Elle Fanning and Justice Smith and is now streaming on Netflix.

photo courtesy of wikipedia

All the Bright Places stars Elle Fanning and Justice Smith and is now streaming on Netflix.

Anna Blumenthal, Staff Reporter

A few years ago, while searching for books, I stumbled across “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven. The novel took me on a series of highs and lows and I felt connected to all the characters after reading. After doing some digging, I discovered that the book was going to be adapted into a movie. By following the author’s instagram page, I was able to vote for the cast members of my choice and follow along with all the movie updates. Finally, on February 28th, the film that I had been waiting so long for finally got released on Netflix.

The film follows Violet Markey (Elle Fanning), a girl who just lost her sister in a car accident. While standing on the bridge where the incident occurred, she meets Theodore Finch (Justice Smith). The two partner up for a project that entails finding the most meaningful places in their town. Theodore is known as the class freak, and Violet is at first hesitant to get to know him. However, after time, they both open up to each other and Violet starts to move on from her sister’s death.

I was very hopeful and excited for this movie. Fanning and Smith were the ideal actors for the characters and I was eager to see everything come to life however my expectations were not met at all. Despite the author of the book writing the screenplay, many details from the book were changed or forgotten. From the very moment the film began, I could tell that the story had been altered because the entire location of the opening scene was different. From there, more and more scenes kept getting changed or shortened in order to meet time requirements.

If I had not read the book, I believe that I would be very confused with the plot of the movie, or I would’ve clicked off altogether. Many of the characters have a deep backstory with one another that helps to understand the dynamics of the story. For example, before her sister’s accident, Violet was the popular girl who ran with the inner circle of the school. The movie makes her look like an outcast with a bunch of toxic friends who barely knew her. Also, the character of Theodore’s dad is crucial to understanding the complexity and childhood of Theodore. The movie decided to completely leave this character out and only have snippets about the childhood trauma caused by his dad. 

Despite the storyline being messed up, the actors still did a good job portraying the characters. Smith was not originally who I had pictured as playing Theodore, but he did an amazing job at playing the character believably. Also, Fanning was the perfect Violet. Not only did she look exactly like the book’s description of the character, but she also had the same personality. Both actors did well with what they were given.

Overall, the story is really beautiful and I believe that everyone needs to know about it. The plot is emotional and will bring anyone to tears, but will also bring a lot of joy. However, I would highly recommend reading the novel instead of watching the movie. Sadly, this film just adds on to the long list of books that should not have been adapted.