Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Matthew Goode, Michael Caine & Bill Nighy: One for the kids #book2movie

Image of Matthew Goode as father in The Four Kids and It based on the book by Jacqueline Wilson shooting in Ireland

Matthew Goode plays Dad in The Four Kids and ItOn Location in Dublin

Imagine Matthew Goode, Michael Caine, and Bill Nighy together in one film. Ah, the prospect makes my mouth water! Such a trio of talents working together. So what do I do when some of my favorite actors are about to star not in some rich drama or grown-up comedy but in a movie based on a children’s book written for 8 to 11-year-olds? Cover it of course. But I’m finding it hard work to get past this book cover.

Michael Caine, Bill Nighy and Matthew Goode are set to star in family action adventure pic based on Jacqueline Wilson’s novel Four Children And It (which is itself based on the 1902 E. Nesbit book Five Children And It). 
The story follows four children who are horrified to learn that their beach holiday is in fact a bonding trip with their potential future step-siblings. During an argument, they accidently find a magical, sandy, grumpy creature called the Psammead (voiced by Caine) who can grant them one wish a day — only to see the wish canceled as soon as the sun sets. The kids must learn to work together and choose their wishes wisely as an evil villain (Nighy) tries his best to steal the Psammead for himself. Principal photography starts in August.

Three lovely men—Goode, Caine, and Nighy—whose work I love but whose presence in this picture doesn’t make excited about it at all. Hooray, a movie for kids with quality actors. One that the actors’ own children and grandchildren can see—not the worst motivator in the world. I just wish I could be a tad more excited about it for the children’s sake. Go on, tell me how Nesbitt’s book—never heard of it—is a classic which impacted your childhood. I’m all ears.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams: My Take on the Series

Poster for Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams based on the book by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams

Are you watching Sharp Objects Sunday nights on HBO? I rewatched Episode One before tuning in to the second episode, a practice I think I'll continue throughout viewing the entire series. While it’s a mystery—Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) returns home to Wind Gap to report on the murder of two local girls to her big-city newspaper—it’s her character, what lurks beneath the surface to create the woman we see, that is the real mystery. 

Amy Adams stars as heavy drinking and cutting Camille Preaker in Sharp Objects on HBO

Amy Adams wears baggy grey sweater and black leggings in Sharp Objects

She’s a drinker and instead of packing clothes for her trip—she wears the same shapeless dark grey sweater and black jean leggings every day—she loads her bag with an assortment of vodka bottles, cigarettes, and candy. She drinks in the car, having poured the alcohol into water bottles. She drinks in the bathtub, aligning the empties on the edge of the tub, lining up the caps in an orderly row. All part of her ritual drinking. And of course, she drinks in her local bar. The only time she doesn’t drink is when an old family friend (Elizabeth Perkins) offers her a spiked sweet tea. No, Camille replies with a straight face, because she’s on duty. Which, we know, is utter nonsense. 

Elizabeth Perkins in Sharp Objects

Slowly, not until the very end of the first episode, we see it’s not just the drinking. Camille is also a cutter, carving words into her skin. Self-harming is not an altogether uncommon act for adolescents, struggling with all the stress that coming-of-age brings. Psychology Today puts the figure at somewhere between 13 and 23% of all teenagers. The practice is considerednon-suicidal self-injury’’ and is defined as the deliberate, self-inflicted destruction of body tissue, but it’s important to understand that cutters aren’t trying to kill themselves. In fact, they often inflict the self-harm in order to feel alive rather than numb. Quite a contradictory set of feelings with Camille drinking to a point where she feels numb enough to handle the pain of cutting, pricking herself with paperclips and needles. Her wounds are deep, the vanish scratched into her skin, a harsh directive she’s given to herself based on her mother’s own dismissive attitude towards her. 

Image from HBO's Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson who is rarely seen without a drink in her hand

Patricia Clarkson as Adora is rarely seen without a drink in her hand

We can see that in Camille’s house wearing your emotions on your sleeve was not allowed. Even now Camille’s mother, the chilly, Amaretto Sours drinking Adora (Patricia Clarkson) can’t bear any kind of emotional outburst. Adora too, exhibits a form of self-harm, constantly plucking at her own eyelashes. 

Still from Sharp Objects on HBO featuring Chris Messina and Amy Adams

Chris Messina, the detective on the case, has no compunction about drinking on the job 

It’s a complicated web the show weaves, fascinating to watch Camille navigate a world where she encounters a world of fellow heavy drinkers, if not outright alcoholics, at every turn. In addition to her mother, rarely without a drink in her hand: her managing editor at the newspaper (Miguel Sandoval) hides his own bottle away in a credenza away from his wife’s prying eyes, the detective working on the case (Chris Messina) enables her drinking with his own, an old family friend (Elizabeth Perkins) is half woozy with booze in every scene she appears in, her young stepsister Amma (Eliza Scanlen) has already started pilfering alcohol from the local quick-stop. 

Image of Amy Adams breaking down in Sharp Objects, based on the book by Gillian Flynn

Camille (Amy Adams) breaks down in Sharp Objects

This is not a character to emulate, to admire and yet we like her. She has our sympathies along with our disapproval. Driving drunk, erasing memories, trying to bury the past—which can’t help but come back to bite you—and blurring the present are not the approved methods for getting by in life. It’s not the way the vast majority of us live our lives so we watch, mesmerized at this walking train wreck, hoping against hope that like fellow thriller writer Paula Hawkin’s alcoholic Girl on the Train, Camille gets her drinking problem under control, the crime solved and her demons in check. All while creating a dialogue about the harm self-harming can do.

This is my summer binge, delicious and haunting. Are you watching?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig: Stanley Kubrick's Lost Screenplay Found

Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig

Lots of Hollywood buzz today as Stanley Kubrick’s so-called lost screenplay has been found. Based on the novella by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, the screenplay was co-written with Calder Willingham who counts The Graduate, Paths of Glory, and Little Big Man among his credits.

A film academic, Nathan Abrams, a professor at Bangor University in Wales, told BBC radio that the son of one of Kubrick's collaborators who wishes to remain anonymous showed him the 100-plus-page screenplay. “It’s a full script: beginning, middle, end,” Abrams told BBC radio. “As to whether that was the final one, we can’t say.”

Abrams added “whether it would fit Stanley Kubrick’s vision, that’s a whole other matter….You have to add into the mix that Stanley only ever looked at a screenplay as a blueprint to which he then added his audiovisual expertise.”

The film was adapted in 1988 by Stanley Kubrick’s assistant, Andrew Birkin, with David Eberts, Faye Dunaway and Klaus Maria Brandauer. That film—presumably written by Birkin himself—is available on Amazon.

About the book:

A suave baron takes a fancy to twelve-year-old Edgar’s mother, while the three are holidaying in an Austrian mountain resort. His initial advances rejected, the baron befriends Edgar in order to get closer to the woman he desires. The initially unsuspecting child soon senses something is amiss but has no idea of the burning secret that is driving the affair, and that will soon change his life forever.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Woman in the Window Casting Update: Wyatt Russell

Wyatt Russell has been cast to play David in The Woman in the Window
Wyatt Russell

Wyatt Russell has been cast to play David, the lodger who lives in Ana’s basement in The Woman in the Window. The son of Kurt and Goldie—named after his dad’s star-turn character in Tombstone—has been working his way up since he first appeared as an uncredited Orphan Boy in his dad’s 1996 movie Escape from LAI didn’t notice him until he appeared in Black Mirror. At 6’2’’ his rough-hewn good looks make him perfect for the part of the deeply attractive lodger sometime-handyman who Ana calls on for help throughout the novel.

Amy Adams to star as Ana in The Woman in the Window based on the book by A.J. Finn

Amy Adams in Sharp Objects

Amy Adams was cast as Ana back in April, the agoraphobic child psychologist who spends most of her days watching film noir classics and her neighbors. Witnessing a crime while watching at the window shakes her out of her self-induced wine fog. Watch Adams as Camille Preaker in Sharp Objects for a peek at how well she plays a woman slightly woozy with drink 24/7.

There have been rumors that Julianne Moore will join the cast; if so I presume in the role of Ethan’s mother, Mrs. Russell, the woman Adams sees in the window. We’ll let you know when we know. The film is still in the pre-production period, director Joe Wright still making his plans.

Have you read the book yet? 
Plenty of time before the film comes to the screen in October of 2019 but why delay? It’s a great beach read. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

White Teeth by Zadie Smith: A Top 100 Book

One of the Top 100 books on the PBS Great American Read is White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Published in 2001 when the British writer was just 24 years old, I am reading it now for the first time. This 65-year-old woman is transfixed, blown away by the sheer force of her writing, her dazzling voice—and her ability to mimic the voices of London on the page— and the amazing epic story which spans the latter half of the 20th century. 

About the book:
At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London’ s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.

The novel was adapted for the screen as a four episode series starring Om Puri as Samad with Archie Panjabi as his fierce and feisty wife Alsana. Naomi Harris is Clara, the bucktoothed beauty married to Samad’s friend, Archie (Phil Davis). Their daughter Irie (Sarah Ozeke) is in love with Samad and Alsana’s son Magid (Christopher Sampson) who also plays his twin Malit. James McAvoy appears as their friend Josh, son of the meddling and entitled white folks, Marcus and Joyce. 

 It's hard for me to imagine this sprawling 485 page book being whittled down to fit the four episode format, and from what I can tell, you’d be hardpressed to find it on any of the streaming services. But let me know if you do, I’d be curious to see it. 

In 1970s England, cultures start to mix and cross with different experiences. Archie is contemplating suicide until he meets Clara, who is fleeing an oppressive Jehovah's Witness mother. Meanwhile, Samad has arrived in England to meet with his old war-friend Archie and to complete his arranged marriage. The two couples have different experiences of multicultural Britain and this differs from their children as the story follows the two generations across the years.

I hope you'll read the book, it is such a remarkable achievement. Smith’s ear for the myriad London voices is spot on, and what she says about the state of our diverse world is definitely worth reading right now.

Here, how Smith writes about Irie and Millat:

“And this belief in her ugliness, in her wrongness, has subdued her;she kept her smart-ass comments to herself these days, she kept her right hand on her stomach. She was all wrong.  
Whereas Millat was like youth remembered in the nostalgic eyeglass of old age, beauty parodying itself: broken Roman nose, tall, thin; lightly veined smoothly muscled; chocolate eyes with a reflective green sheen like moonlight bouncing off a dark sea; irresistible smile, big white teeth. In Glenard Oak Comprehensive, Black, Pakistani, Greek, Irish-these were races. But those with sex appeal lapped the other runners. They were a species all their own.” 
Have you read White Teeth? Where does it sit on your own list of favorite books? 

Friday, July 13, 2018

First Trailer for Mary Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan & Margo Robbie #book2movie

The trailer for Mary Queen of Scots, the upcoming biopic based on John Guy’s best selling book My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary, Queen of Scots just hit and, wow, is it intense. My historical knowledge on the rivalry between Mary and Queen Elizabeth is woefully weak, I'll be putting Guy’s  'dramatic re-interpretation' on my must- read list. 

A long-overdue and dramatic reinterpretation of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots by one of the leading historians at work today. She was crowned Queen of Scotland at nine months of age, and Queen of France at sixteen years; at eighteen she ascended the throne that was her birthright and began ruling one of the most fractious courts in Europe, riven by religious conflict and personal lust for power. She rode out at the head of an army in both victory and defeat; saw her second husband assassinated, and married his murderer. At twenty-five she entered captivity at the hands of her rival queen, from which only death would release her. The life of Mary Stuart is one of unparalleled drama and conflict. From the labyrinthine plots laid by the Scottish lords to wrest power for themselves, to the efforts made by Elizabeth's ministers to invalidate Mary's legitimate claim to the English throne, John Guy returns to the archives to explode the myths and correct the inaccuracies that surround this most fascinating monarch. He also explains a central mystery: why Mary would have consented to marry - only three months after the death of her second husband, Lord Darnley - the man who was said to be his killer, the Earl of Bothwell. And, more astonishingly, he solves, through careful re-examination of the Casket Letters, the secret behind Darnley's spectacular assassination at Kirk o'Field. With great pathos, Guy illuminates how the imprisoned Mary's despair led to a reckless plot against Elizabeth - and thus to her own execution. The portrait that emerges is not of a political pawn or a manipulative siren, but of a shrewd and charismatic young ruler who relished power and, for a time, managed to hold together a fatally unstable country. MY HEART IS MY OWN is a compelling work of historical scholarship that offers radical new interpretations of an ancient story.
Let's watch!

Mary Queen of Scots — also starring Tennant, Gemma Chan, Guy Pearce, and Joe Alwyn — is set for release on Dec. 7, in time to qualify for the Academy Awards. Plenty of time to read the book first.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ordeal by Innocence: Trailer for the Agatha Christie Classic Coming in August. #book2movie

“Smile Mother! So everyone knows we're happy!’’ 

Except they’re not. Even in the pre-social media age, families took photos, everyone putting on smiles as if they were all blindingly happy. In England, that’s what they call playing happy familiesIf you’re a fan of British detective shows, you know the phrase. It’s the kind of fake family harmony a detective might notice when interviewing suspects in a murder investigation. 

In Ordeal by Innocence it’s especially clear this is not a happy family and Mother will soon be dead. And by the looks of it, via the hand of someone in her family. Her large and extended family.

Amazon Prime has released the trailer for the original limited series based on Agatha Christie’s novel, set to stream on August 10th. 

In Ordeal By Innocence, old wounds are reopened for the Argyll family when a man suddenly turns up and claims that the black sheep of the family, Jack Argyll, could not have murdered its tyrannical matriarch — for which he was accused just one year earlier. The family must come to terms with Jack’s innocence and with the fact that one of them may be the real murderer.

Adapted by Sarah Phelps (The Casual Vacancy, The Crimson Field), Ordeal by Innocence features an ensemble cast that includes Bill Nighy (Love Actually), Anthony Boyle (The Lost City of Z), Anna Chancellor (The Hour), Morven Christie (The A Word), Crystal Clarke (Assassin’s Creed), Christian Cooke (The Promise), Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness), Matthew Goode (The Good Wife), Ella Purnell (Sweetbitter), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark), and Luke Treadaway (Fortitude).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

IT: Thoughts on the Movie based on the Book by Stephen King #book2movie #review

Image of Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise from the movie It, based on the book by Stephen King,

Bill Skarsgard is Pennywise in IT

Finally saw IT last night, sitting safely in my living room, on my fairly big-screen TV.  Good scary fun if that’s what you’re looking for in a film. Besides the creepy PennyWise the clown—played by Bill Skarsgard and who I understand will be back for IT: Chapter Two—the dynamic between the kids, fighting their childhood battles, their fears of being nerds, stutterers, fat boys, and losers, I was most intrigued by Beverly’s character. 

Image from IT based on the book by Stephen King, starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, Sophia Lillis as Beverly, Jaeden Lieberher as Bill, Finn Wolfhard,

Sophia Lillis is Beverly in IT

based on the book by Stephen King

Sophia Lillis as the young Camille Preaker in Sharp Objects 

Played by Sophia Lillis—who we can also see currently as the young Amy Adams in Sharp Objects—Beverly is the boy’s object of desire. A pretty redheaded girl-next-door type, Beverly—Jessica Chastain is slated to play the character in Chapter Two—is bullied by the other girls in school. Along with the garbage they dump down on her head while she sits in a bathroom stall, they hurl all their own self-loathing, all their pent-up insecurities, petty jealousies and worries that come with puberty.  Somebody has to be on the receiving end for all the hatred. There is a rumor that Beverly is a bad girl, that she gives out, sux you know what. In spite of the fact that she is the very image of a good girl—barely developed, pretty in a plain Anne of Green Gables kind of way, ignorant of her own appeal.

What also comes with puberty is by definition, menstruation. When Beverly brings home sanitary napkins, her father demands to know if she is still his girl. Rather than his desire to see her as the sweet innocent daughter, and we see yet another of Stephen King’s fathers with incestuous intentions.  His concern isn’t that she stay sweet and innocent, it’s that she stay sweet and innocent for him. 

Gerald’s Game

I—not someone who has read widely in the King genre—have noticed two other young women abused by their fathers in King adaptations. In Gerald’s Game where the young Jessie,  who adores her father, is forced to sit on the garden bench and fondle his penis. 

Dolores Claiborne

Likewise in Dolores Claiborne, the scene where Selena’s father navigates their seats so they are out of sight of other passengers on the ferryboat and then proceeds to plead with her to touch him is sickening. Those scenes are more horrifying to me than any clown in theatrical make-up.  

Doing a nominal bit of digging, I learn that in the novel, the sex goes beyond the scene where we see the father’s barely concealed desire, beyond the innocent-looking ogling of the boys as she sunbathes in a white cotton bra. In the book, there is apparently a sex scene, a so-called “consensual’’ gang-bang with Bev and the boys, Bev being the initiator and telling them the only way they can escape from the tunnel is if they all have sex with her. King writes that the first boy, Eddie, comes to her “the way he would have come to his mother.” 

Right. So that’s fairly creepy. Not so creepy that I will join the chorus of those accusing Stephen King of promoting pedophilia or his screen adaptations being part of some bizarre Hollywood pedophile ring. What I think is that King is an immensely prolific writer who shares a wealth of knowledge with us. If the world King shows us is weird and wicked, full of depravity, blame the world, not Stephen King. 

To be honest, now that I have seen IT, I'm much more open to seeing IT: Chapter Two, getting to know the kids as they've grown into their adult selves. Seeing what brings them back to town, and how they deal with IT, this time around.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

From the Writer Who Gave Us Colin Firth in his Wet Shirt in Pride & Prejudice: Sanditon

Sandition, book cover for the final and unfinished novel by Jane Austen

Sanditon, the unfinished novel by Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s Sanditon is being adapted for the BBC by the acclaimed Andrew Davies. Amazing when you think Jane Austen didn’t complete the novel, writing only approximately 23,000 words before putting down her pen. She died four months later. 

Plenty of others have ‘completed’ the book—like Juliette Shapiro, none of which I’ve read—so presumably purists won’t be too dismayed at Davies’ effort to bring the story to conclusion on screen. The writer is a skilled hand at period adaptations having War & Peace, Sense & Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Bleak House, Little Dorrit in his cv along with modern day classics like the Bridget Jones films and House of Cards. And more. Much more. Most relevant, of course, he scripted our favorite television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy with Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth. Spurning all the other fake Austen wanna-be’s I’m actually looking forward to Davies’ iteration.

Here’s what screenwriter Davies says about the project

“Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment. Sanditon tells the story of the transformation of a sleepy fishing village into a fashionable seaside resort, with a spirited young heroine, a couple of entrepreneurial brothers, some dodgy financial dealings, a West Indian heiress, and quite a bit of nude bathing. It’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop Sanditon into a TV drama for a modern audience.”

About the book 

According to Deadline “Written only months before Austen’s death in 1817, Sanditon tells the story of the impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the charming Sidney Parker. When a chance accident transports her from her rural hometown of Willingden to a would-be coastal resort, it exposes Charlotte to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make. The drama takes viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London and exposes the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself and ultimately find love.’’
Not much else to report right now but you can read the actual unfinished Sanditon at the Australian iteration of the Gutenberg Project. I’m looking forward to giving it a look and dream casting the “charming Sidney Parker’’.

And now—because what better excuse?—let’s have a gander at the beloved Mr. Darcy stripping down in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice.

Oh, Mr. Darcy! You still make me smile.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn; My take on the book behind the miniseries starring Amy Adams #book2movie #review

Amy Adams stars in Sharp Objects

I loved the first episode of HBO's Sharp Objects. If it was slow, as one critic noted, it was slow like like life in sleepy Wind Gap, Missouri. More on the show later, for now, here's a repeat of my thoughts on the book. 

It's been a couple of years since I first found out that the screen rights to Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects had been optioned with Amy Adams set to star. Since then we've learned it's headed, not for your local theatre, but for your television screen via HBO. I can see the psychological thriller will make a dark and intoxicating mini-series somewhat in the True Detective mold. Much like we were by the detectives on that show, we're just as—if not more—fascinated by the dark side of Camille Preaker, the haunted, secretive reporter trying to shed light on a murder case, as we are the murderer and the victims of the crime. I suppose that's true for the lead character in most murder mysteries; we love our Poirots, our Lucas Davenports, our Kinsey Milhones, our Stephanie Plums but there's something about Camille. She's a whole lot darker, and more damaged. We may be fascinated but, with the way she conducts herself, we're not exactly falling in love with her either. 

Here's the lowdown from B&N dating back to 2006 when this debut novel from the former Entertainment Weekly critic was first published:
"My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly." An edgy first line, and it provides the perfect opening for this gritty debut novel by journalist Flynn. Her protagonist, Camille Preaker, is a reporter for a second-rate Chicago newspaper. A solitary woman with a cynical bent, she appears to have carved out a workable life for herself despite a painful past and an estranged family. But when a second young girl turns up missing in Camille's hometown -- shortly after another local girl was found murdered -- Camille's editor sends her home to Missouri to cover the story. The question is, can Camille get to the bottom of the story before her demons get the best of her? A classic whodunit, Sharp Objects is an gripping page-turner. Readers follow Camille to the field as she examines crime scenes, interviews the friends and family of the victims, and probes reticent investigators for information. After all, the world of investigative reporting is tantalizing. Take, for example, the provocative flirting between Camille and a Kansas City detective assigned to the cases. Is it sex they're after, or simply information? And the gradual unfolding of Camille's alarming past will keep readers riveted until the very last page. Flynn writes with impressive authenticity about difficult, often painful, subject matter. As its title suggests, Sharp Objects is a cutting, incisive read. 
Whoever wrote this blurb got it right, right? Camille is not your typical protagonist; once a cutter, always a cutter fighting the urge, Flynn gives us an unflinching look at Camille's sad secret, her inner demons, the tortured workings of her mind. The reporter drinks too much - actually a lot of the characters drink too much, or do drugs of one kind or another, Flynn making the point that there's not much else to do in this sleepy midwest backwoods of a town - and she often makes the wrong choices. One of them is allowing her editor, Curry, to talk her into going back to her hometown - a place she hasn't been in years - to cover the murder of a young girl, the second in as many years. 
It's easy to see why she left Wind Gap. Her mother, Adora, is a piece of work. In retrospect I can't imagine why Camille would ever, ever subject herself to staying there at all, much less the length of time she hangs on. For me that was one of the few false notes Flynn struck. While the author tries to give credibility to the choice by making it a financial issue - she doesn't get paid much by the crappy newspaper she writes for and there's not much available in the way of an expense account - it's crystal clear Camille should steer clear of what is a very toxic environment. Adora, who Camille tells us is 'like a girl's very best doll, the kind you don't play with' craves adoration aimed at her but does not reciprocate in any kind of healthy, maternal manner, would put Mommy Dearest to shame.  The wealthy owner of a pig processing plant, a place the author paints in all too graphic detail, Adora owns the small Missouri town. At one point we see she's powerful enough to waltz in and announce that an interview Camille is conducting is over. Finished. That's all she wrote. And Camille, a grown woman, cut down and humiliated, allows it. And yet Camille, like a child, still yearns for her mother's love, for her approval. 

Patricia Clarkson plays Adora

Oh, I can not wait to see Patricia Clarkson as Adora! In her late forties she looks younger with her 'glowing pale skin, with long blonde hair and pale blue eyes' Adora is the kind of mother Gone Girl's Amy Dunne might turn out to be. Manipulative, jealous, demanding and punitive. Hmmm. 
Camille's stepfather is purposely less interesting, he's a wispy nothing interested only in his aviation books and his cocktails. Only a man like that could allow the familial goings-on to go on right under his willfully ignorant nose. Frankly, it doesn't matter much who plays him, he's not much more than background action.

Eliza Scanlen is Camille's sister Amity (Amma)

And then there are the sisters; Camille's dead sister Marian that Adora showered all her affection on; caring for her, bathing her, ministering to her needs in sick devotion, casting Camille aside, and Amity—Amma for short—Camille's beautiful, prematurely sexualized thirteen-year-old half-sister who rules over the town's middle school with just as much power as her mother wields over the town. Another piece of work. And another female in Camille's life that she's drawn to and obsessed by. Flynn draws her in detail, 'her flushed face had the roundness of a girl barely in her teens and her hair was parted in ribbons, but her breasts, which she aimed proudly outward, were those of a grown woman. A lucky grown woman.' There should be plenty of young Chloe Grace Moretz types out there to play the role; so many of today's girls seem old beyond their years, innocence and modesty aren't traits to be admired in our snap-chat selfie-obsessed twerky world. (Okay, my grouchy lecture is done)

Taylor John Smith

The victims, as noted, aren't all that fascinating but as Flynn's supporting cast of characters are in Gone Girl, none are innocent victims. In Flynn's world, we're all flawed and awful and some of us are downright creepy. John, the brother of the victim Natalie is on the creepy side. As is Camille's sister. Did he do it? Did Amma, or one of Amma's nasty friends? Camille's mother? They're all suspects.

Chris Messina plays Richard, the detective

The one person we know didn't 'do it' is Richard, the St. Louis detective assigned by the county to work the case. I have to make another Gone Girl reference here because much like she did with the attraction between Amy and Nick Dunne in their early days, Flynn writes the budding romance with its slick form of witty repartee and flirty behavior between Camille and Richard (played by Chris Messina) perfectly. We feel their undeniable pull towards each other even while they work on the surface to keep it professional. When it comes, in the way it comes, we're not that surprised at how it happens. I was a bit skeptical about the workings of the sexual relationship with Camille and her secret staying under wraps, as it were, but it's clearly behavior familiar to high school students which is the last time the reporter engaged in any type of sex, so it makes sense psychologically. At bottom, it's another example of the inappropriate choices Camille makes and will continue to make. Self-sabotaging choices that mess up her head and her life.
Again, as in Gone Girl, the ending wasn't what I was expecting or wanting. I finished the book feeling slightly unsatisfied but you know what they say, 'you don't always get what you want but if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need.'
Number of stars? You know I don't do that but I'd probably give it 3 out of 4 amaretto sours. Oh yeah, they do a whole lot of drinking in this book. 
How do you like the casting of Sharp Objects? Directed by Jean-Marc Valle, and written by Marti Noxon, the 8 episode series airs in the fall. 

Originally published 9/6/2016
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