Top critical review
Ludicrous. Read the book instead.
on 30 May 2016
I've read the book several times, and thoroughly enjoyed its sense of creeping menace and ambiguous characters. I always wondered what a filmed adaptation would be like, as it moves slowly and yet inexorably to the climactic twist.
Having been pleasantly surprised hearing it had been filmed, upon watching it I was bitterly disappointed.
The book, while not fleshing out many of the main characters to any great degree, nonetheless managed to give them depth, and avoid them behaving in simplistic or predictable ways. We are frequently unsure of their motivatIons, despite some awareness of their inner thoughts.
The filmed version was utterly banal: evil mother in law, deliberately and maliciously plotting to convince her daughter in law she is flirting with insanity. Poor innocent daughter in law being helplessly manipulated by husband and in-laws.
While the book is an easy read it nonetheless had some nuance.
The tv version sacrifices subtlety for melodrama. The book is almost believable, that discreet manipulation, much of which is never spelled out, can have a horribly negative effect on the target. While the reader may not know exactly why some characters behave the way they do, the behavior itself is plausible. One of my favorite things about the book was that so much was hinted but never explained.
The adaptation is so obvious, the characters might as well have 'goodie' and 'baddie' written on their foreheads.
The cast is rather impressive, so presumably they had school fees or a big tax bill to pay. This is such a remarkably poor drama I can't think why else they would participate.