Film Title: Blindness
Book Title: Blindness
Release Year: 2008
Summary: A doctor's wife becomes the only person with the ability to see in a town where everyone is struck with a mysterious case of sudden blindness. She feigns illness in order to take care of her husband as her surrounding community breaks down into chaos and disorder. (IMDB.com)
What I Thought: In general, the film adaptation did a great job following the book. Most of the plot remained the same and the characters matched their literary counterparts well. Its interesting that a story about blindness would adapt so well to the screen. Yet, director Fernando Meirelles wove the concept through the film with beautiful cinamatography and visuals.
The lack of names, which bothered me so intensely in the book, was virtually unnoticable on screen. "The doctor's wife" or "the man with the eye patch" are no longer wordy or cumbersome. Instead, their identies are translated in a flash by their appearances (a reality I do not take for granted in a movie about lack of sight). I still find the nameless-ness unnecessary, but it at least worked better on screen than on the page.
The other part of the book which was so disconcerting to me was the violence, both physical and sexual. The movie did deal with this, but the scenes seemed far less prolonged. It helped that I was more ready for it than I was reading the book, but they definitely did not dwell on those scenes nearly as long in the film. Thank goodness. I had the fast forward button ready to go in case they did. Saramago's message of inate human brutality and evil still gets across, but without the excess of discomfort for the viewer/reader.
I enjoyed the movie more than I expected. It certainly helped to have the amazing Julianne Moore playing the lead. She is phenomenal. The cast did a wonderful job all around, although I always tend to find Mark Ruffalo vaguely annoying. To me, the film version is a great way to get the gist of the story without some of the intensity. Don't get me wrong; the movie is still rated R for a reason, but, compared to the book, there is a hope, a silver lining around the edges of the blindness.
Will I Re-Watch: Unlikely
A Reduced Review: A beautiful, more palatable adaptation of a heavy, intense novel.