I had read and immensely enjoyed the book - an excellent read, so I approached the dvd with some trepidation.
I am assuming that readers will have read the book or seen the film, so will not re-hash the plot here. (See my review of the book)
The film was something of a disappointment. At about 77 minutes running time, it felt like huge chunks had been edited out.
By comparison with the book, Gabriel's father hardly appeared at all and the unwinding of Gabriel's relationship with Jess was skimmed over, as was his growing relationship with young Pete and his adoptive mother Donna, which was at the core of the book and, I think, should have been at the core of the film.
It seemed like, almost the first two thirds of the book, had been shoehorned into the first twenty minutes of the film. The rest of the film only made sense if you knew fully what had gone before. Indeed, a friend who had not read the book, was watching it with me and had to keep asking what was going on and why. For instance, why make a point of the tank with the star on it, when the film had made no previous reference to its significance?
Once Gabriel had set off to visit Pete and Donna, the film picked up pace and interest, only departing significantly from the book at the very end. The book kind of left the reader to make up his own mind about Pete and Donna, whereas the film presented the viewer with a fait accompli, with not just one, but two final twists.
I'm a great admirer of Armistead Maupin and, it's a pity the film version doesn't do justice to the excellent book.