And then, because apparently I was having a busy day, I saw Adaptation. It’s… it’s quite a movie. It’s a movie about the screenwriter’s struggle to write the screenplay adaptation of a book about flowers, which is really a loosely connected set of essays and personal thoughts. His goal is to not impose any Hollywood crap onto his adaptation, but instead remain as true to it as possible. The problem he discovers is that it’s impossible to write a movie without a plot, or themes, or events, or characters that grow and change. And… it’s almost impossible to talk about it in more depth without spoiling things. I shall say now that I really enjoyed it a lot, that I was laughing almost constantly, but that it probably isn’t the kind of movie that I’d want to watch over and over again.
So, it’s like this. Our screenwriter has a twin brother, right? who also wants to be a screenwriter, but who wants nothing more than to sell out, Hollywood-style. His brother also has all of the extroversion and social courage of the pair. In short, he’s everything Charlie wishes he could be.The further into the movie I got, the harder it was for me to believe that the book or the brother existed at all. Well, I was half-right. Charlie’s brother is a figment representing Charlie’s struggle to choose his place in the world. Not only that, but as soon as he starts listening to his brother, the film instantly shifts direction from the most impressive meta-movie in history to standard Hollywood schlock, with drugs, guns, sex, and car chases. But even this is switched in so slyly, shell-game style, that I had to enjoy the con.
However, the book. The book is real, and Charlie being hired to adapt the book into a movie is real, and the woman who wrote the book is real. Everything in the first half of the movie (well, basically everything) really does seem to have happened just the way it’s written. And so, when the second half shears so abruptly into fiction, I’m left feeling a little bit dirty about the way the real people were used. I’m sure it was approved and all, but it’s just so strange. And that impresses me most of all, as I consider myself fairly jaded these days.