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A Reader of Fictions: Books Made into Movies: Where Angels Fear to Tread

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Books Made into Movies: Where Angels Fear to Tread

After a couple of months without a Books Made into Movies feature, I am suddenly on a roll. I read Where Angels Fear to Tread last year. Going into it, I was really excited, because I thought it sounded a bit like A Room with a View (my favorite movie and one of my favorite books, also by Forster), what with the English ladies going on vacation in Italy. It really puzzles me how E.M. Forster can write an incredibly beautiful, moving clever romance (A Room with a View) and also write a story where everything just keeps getting worse and worse all the time (Where Angels Fear to Tread). I did not much care for the book, and the movie was just the same.

Watching this movie may make you look this distressed.
That, or, being surrounded by chilluns, as happened to this poor lady.

Since there was a fair amount of time that passed between my reading and my viewing of the film, I can't speak to any specific details being correct or incorrect, but the gist of it was most definitely the same. One of the main thrusts of the novel is the appeal of the Italian man (Brief explanation: a widow goes to Italy with a cousin (?) and marries a much younger Italian man very quickly.). All of the Brits are at first opposed to him but are charmed by his simple Italian ways. Well, I'm not buying any of it. He is an abusive asshole and is not in the least okay.

For those who can't read it, the box says:
"Only one thing could come between Lilia and her Italian lover...her in-laws."
The copywriter clearly has never read this book or seen the movie.
Either that or they mixed this up with Monster-in-Law.

The ending of the film, and perhaps the book as well, was exceedingly awkward. It was fairly apparent that there was no good, satisfying way to wrap up this story. A number of the main characters are dead, so you're left with two people saying goodbye at a train station. Honestly, they're the only ones I kind of like, but they're obsessed with the Italian and will never get together (and I honestly do not remember if they are related, not that being cousins stopped folk back then).

If you like stories about how women lived terrible lives way back when, then you will love this. Marriage is bad, widowhood is bad, spinsterhood is bad, motherhood is bad. There's no escape. Actually, this is one of those stories where bad things happen so unremittingly that by the end I'm laughing at the absurdity of people's actions and the ridiculous accidents they cause.

Take my advice and watch A Room with a View instead. It's a better made movie too.

Now that's what I'm talking about.



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