As it turns out, kind of bad. Not terrible or the worst thing EVER, but I definitely had a lot of issues with it that could have been avoided by it being more... accurate and, just, better. I'll start with the good, shall I? The whole Naoko-Toru story is the main plot of the movie (not a good thing in itself, cause fucking hell, dreary!) so those bits are the most fleshed out, and truest to the book; and the retreat place where Naoko goes is really beautiful and relaxing, so that was nice. Also, they started the movie basically with Kizuki's suicide, making it clear that everything else emanates from this in shockwaves, which I don't think was fully appreciated by everyone who took part in Alice's readalong...
But. SO MANY problems I have. So many, in fact, that I think I'm just going to have to make a whole big list of them because, well, that's just easier. So, from the top:
- NOT ENOUGH MIDORI- Seriously. The Midori-Toru thing takes such a backseat to the 'A' plot of Toru and Naoko, which I guess it kind of does in the book but to a lesser extent. Like, when Midori takes him to see her dad in the film, it's like a two minute thing that reveals a lot less about what Toru is willing to do for Midori than the scene does in the book. I mean, OBViously I wanted to see more Midori, but also doing that made the end seem kind of... stupid, and not very well reasoned.
- REIKO'S STORY IS CUT OUT- Like, entirely. Reiko literally just seems to be there to sing Norwegian Wood and then *SPOILER* have sex with Toru at the end. Which does still happen! Again for basically no reason! WHAT?! *END SPOILER* It's really irritating because I love Reiko, and so that put me in a huff, basically.
- NAGASAWA ISN'T CUT OUT- It's not that I dislike the Nagasawa bit of the story, but if I was going to choose something to cut out, it would be those bits instead of the bits with Midori. I could have had this film as a straight up love triangle with a slight focus on Reiko, but instead it's like Toru-Naoko, but oh look, he also goes out with this douche and has sex with other girls, what does that mean?
- IT'S REALLY SLOW- Like, super slow. And obviously Norwegian Wood isn't an entirely action packed book or anything, but it seems that very little from the book is actually left in the film, but the film still goes on for over 2 hours. Looking back on it now, I'm kind of like 'so... what actually did they leave in, and why did it go on for so long?' Just... I think more could have been fitted in.
- NAOKO SCREECHES. A LOT.- Yeah, this is a thing. Because like, I guess she cries a lot in Norwegian Wood, but it seems like most of her despair is inside her, and that's difficult to show on film so she weeps and wails and screeches a fair bit. Which is... ok, and better than not showing her sadness at all, but it's also kind of annoying. I know, I'm a monster.
- THE PRODUCERS ARE CLEARLY MORONS- No, really. They've paid what I can only assume is ALL THE MONEY to get the rights to the Beatles song because, well, you sort of need it when the book is named after it; and instead of using it at all in the film (well, the Beatles version, anyway) they save it for the end credits. The fuck?
- IT'S LIKE A HOLLOWED OUT VERSION OF THE BOOK- Which I guess is also true of a lot of film versions of books, but it makes me really sad with Norwegian Wood because the book made me feel lots of things, whereas the movie made me feel basically nothing. It kind of takes the struggles of Toru's not really being able to live properly because his best friend is gone, and turns them into a basic love story between a depressed girl and a slightly odd boy. Which is ok, but it's not exactly Norwegian Wood, which is GREAT.