I have not read any of the CanLit that Margaret Laurence wrote - but after seeing this film it makes me want to make the time. I felt this was an impressive film that does not deserve the multitudes of slander and dislike for it that I read about so much.
Burstyn leads a great cast with the likes of Ellen Page, Cole Hauser, Kevin Zegers, Dylan Baker and out of nowhere - Christine Horne. The filming locations in Canada were beautiful, and the period recreations appeared very thorough (vehicles, homes, businesses, etc.).
The story of a woman's life from childhood to passing is flashed back and forth as we discover how the decisions in her life make her fate. You cannot help but think of Notebook in a variety of ways, but this story has so much more in realism and pessimism. The editing is done flawlessly to transport us between time periods, and the lady director (Skogland) helps add some nice feminine touches at the right moments.
Kari Skogland has another fan now after I watched the DVD docus and was VERY happy with how she had them made. The "behind the scenes" is not narrated and splices together random footage of actually making the film. The cast interviews were kept separate - something I wish more filmmakers would do.
I could not give it the higher rating because there was so much being left out or not elaborated on that I am sure had to be in the book. There were at least three story lines and two different sequences that begged for more but were cut short or not explained. I understand the gripes about the cover art, Ellen page has two pics (as she is very popular) front and back, but she is only in the film for a few minutes. The story was written before cell phones and other modernizations shown, but I think the purists need to take a rest on that one. Some nice surprises though; Wings Hauser plays his son's role as the old character, Dylan Baker's performance was very believable but will get overlooked, and the overall authentic/real feel to this (not everyone's love story from the old days ends up perfect in the end) gives this a nudge over Notebook.
Recommend as a buy or a rent.