The following blogpost will contain some spoilery elements in regards to the book,and the movie “Serena”. If you have not read “Serena” I would love for you to drop everything and read this book, and then come back and read this. It will be here when you are done.
I’ve talked before about my love for the book “Serena” by Ron Rash. I love it so much that it has a cemented spot in my Top 5 Favorite Reads. Then, I found out that it was going to be a movie, and reacted thusly. (Thusly? Sure let’s go with it).
After waiting and waiting it was released on Netflix and it landed in my hot little hands. I finally watched it last night. I have thoughts and feelings.
In general, the movie took a really interesting book full of complex and complicated characters and boiled away all of the heart and compelling elements. Just tons and tons of potential right there and they just swept away all the best bits.
Most disappointing was how they portrayed Serena. In the book she’s mysterious, whip smart and bold. However she’s also a little but off. Possessive and manipulative and very evidently not someone you want to get on their bad side. The movie made her smart and a little manipulative but left so much potential for a great character untapped. Spoilery- In the book and the movie she really goes off the deep end after she loses the baby. However, in the movie since you don’t have this backstory, you think that the death of the baby is what unhinges her. This makes her more sympathetic. In the book you know that she was already a little out there and this was the last straw that pushed her over the edge into a sinister, murdery villain.
Biggest spoiler: She dies at the end. She commits suicide. Book Serena would never do something that “passive” or “weak”. Uh.
Here are some other thoughts:
- Bradley Cooper’s terrible Bostonian accent comes and goes throughout the movie.
- The sheriff’s role was completely miscast. I like Toby Jones as an actor but the sheriff should have been someone younger. There’s supposed to be an element of maybe, possible romance between the sheriff and Rachel and that would not have happened as it was cast.
- They completely leave out the whole knife at the train station incident.
- There’s the usual “uhhh that is not how that happened in the book” moments that are in every book to movie translation.
- Rhys Ifans was perfectly cast as Galloway.
I feel like a parent. I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed you didn’t make better choices.