I've already rated the book and given it top marks, but now I have to do it for the film as well. It isn't often that you find a film that equals the quality of the book, but this one does.
I'm neither a Clint Eastwood nor a Meryl Streep fan, so I was extremely sceptical that this was going to do the book justice. How wrong I was. I am dead impressed at how closely Clint Eastwood, as the director, kept to the book. I was also impressed with his acting. I've heard it said of him that he's made a career of being expressionless, but in this movie, for the first time, he enchanted me with his animation. Definitely a side of him I've not seen before.
Meryl Streep was equally good. She played the housewife to perfection, and again, enchanted me and showed me a side of her I could truly like and look forward to watching, again and again.
Perhaps I shouldn't give this movie five stars. The actors who played Streep's grown children were absolutely appalling, though the rest of the supporting characters were believable and didn't get in the way of the story in the way that these two did. I've seldom in my life seen such bad acting, particularly in a film containing two such stellar actors as Eastwood and Streep. Who to blame? Eastwood for directing them poorly? Perhaps, but the rest of the film flowed beautifully. The actors, for being so appalling at their craft that they threatened to ruin the entire film? A bit of both, I think.
Thankfully, the primary characters more than made up for this, and I will hold to my 5-star rating because the movie was beautiful, moving, and tore at your heart just as hard as the book did. I've seen it 3 times on the telly now, and I cried all three times, just as I do every time I read the book. I will definitely be adding it to my library, and wouldn't discourage anyone else from doing the same.