Book to Film Comparison
Love Story by Erich Segal
Publisher; Wheeler Publishing/USA/1970
ISBN; 1-58724-268-0 (Large Print)
Director; Arthur Hiller
Starring; Ali MacGraw/Ryan O'Neal
Plot; Oliver Barrett IV, a law student and sportsman, is the son of a businessman whose family's wealth travels back generations. Such a wealthy and powerful family that one of the buildings at Oliver's school, Harvard, is named after the Barrett family.
However, the Barrett family is not a happy family, with a strong rift between Father and Son which threatens their already delicate relationship.
Jennifer Cavilleri is an outspoken and talented music student. The devoted and loving daughter of a single Father who owns a bakery, she has dreams of studying in Europe.
They are an unlikely couple who find an honest and intimate love with one another, for which there is a cost.
My Thoughts; I admit that this book and film did have the "built up to disappointment" cling to it. I had, of course, heard the famous line, "love means never having to say you're sorry" and I knew of its award winning past, but I think because I knew all this I was expecting so much more. But, once you look past the cliches and the overly predictable plot this isn't such a bad story.
Firstly I want to have a major knit-pick about the opening line of both the book and film. I wish that I hadn't known from that first line that Jennifer would die. I think that if I had not known from the start that Jennifer would die that the ending would have held alot more emotion for me, because there would have been that shock. Yes, there is the shock of how she dies, but I would have preferred to blindly travel through the story without knowing until the end. Did anyone else think this?
I would have to say in this case, and this is a rarity, that I actually preferred the film. Usually I prefer the book because it delves into the story further and introduces the reader to a richer storyline. In the case of Love Story, I preferred the simplicity of the film. The film focuses more on the couple. The book does focus on the couple but with more appearances from the other characters, while the film keeps the other characters to a minimum, which I think enriches the depiction of the bond between Oliver and Jennifer.
One thing I must note though, is that I didn't like the portrayal of Jennifer in the film. As I read the book I pictured Jennifer in a completely different light. In the book when she refers to Oliver as "preppie" I was reading it as a more comical term of endearment, but as I watched the film it was almost as though she was looking down her nose as she said it. Actually, through most of the film as she talked she looked down her nose, whereas the Jennifer I pictured in the book was outspoken but lighthearted.
Having said this, I thought the portrayal of Oliver was spot on, if not better that how the character was originally written. I though the Oliver of the film seemed alot softer than the Oliver of the book, which I found more appealing.
All in all the book is a nice, quick and entertaining read and the film is a good one to relax on the couch with on a Sunday afternoon.
A touch of trivia for you; Love Story was the film debut for Tommy Lee Jones and I must say that, although the film was shot over 30 years ago, apart from a few grey hairs Tommy Lee Jones looks basically the same!
Happy Reading and Happy Viewing!