Hey book nerds! Today, I’m here for something a little different from my usual book reviews and interviews. Today, I’m going to compare a book and its movie adaptation! This isn’t going to be a deep analysis or a legit movie review, just a simple book and movie comparison by your resident bookworm.
(I don’t know yet if this is going to be a regular part of my blog, but I just wanted to give it a try! Let me know what you think after you read this post!)
Anyway, let’s get on with it!
Our subject is A Simple Favor. The novel was written by Darcey Bell, and the movie (starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively) was directed by Paul Feig.
I recently listened to the audiobook (part of my Immersing Myself in Audiobooks commitment), because I remember liking the movie and I wanted to know how the book is. And oh boy, was I enlightened. Though the movie follows the same premise, it’s also quite different from the book. There are several differences and the way the story was told varied from the book as well.
So? Are y’all ready to do this?
Alright, are you guys done? Great, let’s go!
Fair warning, there’s going to be a lot of spoilers in this post. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
First up, what are the major differences between the book and the movie?
- In the book, Stephanie has a blog. In the movie, instead of a blog, she has a vlog and this was an important part of the plot and the flow of the story.
- In the book, Sean Townsend (Emily’s husband) works at a real estate agency (?). In the movie, he was a former novelist and now a college professor.
- In the book, Emily’s twin contacts her telling her she wants to kill herself. In the movie, she contacts Emily to ask for money and blackmail her.
- In the book, the painting that catches Stephanie’s attention in Emily’s home depicts twins, a foreshadowing that played well for the rest of the story if I do say so myself. In the movie, the painting that catches her attention is an explicit painting of a naked Emily, which also contributes to the story and leads to events that are not included in the book.
- In the book, Sean knew about Emily’s initial (devious) plan and they thought of it together. In the movie, Sean is clueless and Emily tried to frame him.
- In the movie, Emily’s adamant about not getting her picture taken or posting any photo on social media (this plays something in the plot). In the book, there are no mentions of such attitude from Emily.
- The book has an open ending! I repeat, the book has an open ending! The movie, on the other hand, ended in high spirits and the plot was resolved.
Here are some minor differences as well:
- In the book, Emily and her twin have no tattoos. In the movie, they have identical tattoos on their left wrist, which pay homage to their stillborn sister.
- Emily and her sister’s names were different in the movie. In the book, it’s just Emily and Evelyn. In the movie, Emily’s real name is Hope and her sister is Faith.
- In the book, Emily’s mother kept in touch with them somehow. In the movie, the mother has shunned the twins and hasn’t talked to them for years.
- In the book Sean was away because of work when Emily disappeared. In the book, his mother broke her hip.
What do I think?
As a whole, I think the movie took the story to new heights. The book is interesting, yes, but with three unreliable point of views, too much detail about incestuous behaviors, a dull and naive main character, and an open ending that fell flat, I’m not exactly looking forward to rave about it.
First of all, I liked Stephanie better in the movie. For one, she’s not consumed by her dark, incestuous secret. She’s ashamed of it and she only told Emily about it when she was drunk and coaxed by Emily. Book-Stephanie, on the other hand, just couldn’t wait to tell Emily all about it. It’s as if her personality revolved around nothing but THAT. Like, what’s up with that? Movie-Stephanie had more character than Book-Stephanie for me. She’s showed spunk when necessary and she wasn’t entirely naive and clueless.
Emily was also better in the movie, I feel like. I remember Sean describing her as a “beautiful ghost”, and that’s what she really is in the movie. She’s elusive, dangerous, enticing. (Blake Lively did amazing as Emily
and honestly, if she killed me, I would let her.)
The flow of events was different in the movie, and yet, it worked for me. The flashbacks were incorporated seamlessly, although some additional scenes (those that weren’t included in the book) can be a little confusing. As stated above, the movie changed several events and details in the story line. Maybe to make the plot more intricate? (They succeeded in that.) To flesh out Emily’s backstory and characterization? (Oh hell, yes.) To make it more modern? (I actually loved the transition from blog to vlog.) To give it an unusual yet amusing ending? (Better than the book, in my opinion.) Looking back, they might have changed several things, but for me, it was worth it.
And so, my final verdict? This means a lot coming from a bookworm, but y’all, the movie was better.
And there you have it! That’s my book vs. movie comparison of A Simple Favor. Hope that entertained you for a little while! 🤣
Have you guys read this book yet? Have you watched the movie? What do you think?
And for those who haven’t read or watched, but just read this post, what do you think? Book or movie?
Tell me in the comments!