From book to big screen – Can the film adaption of Norwegian Wood pack the same punch as the novel?

I don’t generally review films but I’ve been asked to go and see the film adaption of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. Like any book lover I’m a little nervous as the film adaptations of a readers much-loved book can often be a recipe for disappointment. What if the movie doesn’t live up to the book? What if it fails to capture all that was so special about the novel? My preferences nearly always swing in favour of the novel.

There’s just something about the experience of reading a novel that for me is far superior to visiting the cinema. For me it is a far more personal experience; an experience where one can truly lose themselves in the lives and characters of the novel.

I’m hoping the movie wont be a disappointment, it’s directed by the acclaimed Tran Anh Hung. Although I haven’t seen any of his previous films I have read some positive stuff about his work and style so fingers crossed the movie is in good hands.

The big question is will the film truly reflect the delicate and devastating relationships that take place within the novel. Will the intricate dynamics between the characters translate to the big screen? There’s something really precious about the way Murakami depicts love and loss and the special bonds that people form. I really hope that this comes across in the film.

Murakami doesn’t rely on flashy events or dramatic block buster scenes. For me it’s the dialect between the characters that touched me when reading the novel, and the beautiful, sometimes poetic way in which he portrays emotions. He takes experiences of love that his readers can relate to and tells them in such a moving way that we feel sadness and empathy for the people of his book.

The story is about a young man Toru who, following the suicide of his friend, falls in love with two women and must decide who to choose. The plot itself could be depicted in so many different ways but Murakamis chooses a perceptive and sympathetic approach that really moved me when reading the story.

I can’t wait to watch the film, I’m hopeful that it will still retain all that is wonderful about Murkami and the novel, and if were very lucky move us in just the same way.

I’m also excited to see Japan in 1960 depicted at the cinema, it should be a visual treat as it’s something not overly portrayed in the cinema.

I’ll post a review of the film just as soon as I’ve seen it. In the meantime I’d love to know your thoughts if you’ve already seen it? Or your thoughts on a film adaptation of the book being made?

4 thoughts on “From book to big screen – Can the film adaption of Norwegian Wood pack the same punch as the novel?

  1. Films are entirely different media, and conversions between the two rarely work. Doesn’t matter if it is flashy and action packed (LofR) the film always comes off worse.
    I have spent many evenings arguing about film adaptations and their faithfullness (i still come to blows over David Lynch’s Dune vs the original Frank Herbery Dune).
    Try to forget teh book when you watcht he film and it will be a lot better, faithful adaptations are exceedingly rare

  2. I agree Michael, it’s hard to find a film that matches up to the book. I’ve long since given up on faithful adaptions. I just hope this film delivers the same sensation that the book did for me. Have you read the book or will you be watching the film?

  3. Norwegian Wood was the first Murakami I read and it is a wonderful book indeed. I’m not sure how well his magical realist style will translate to the cinema, but Norwegian Wood is more straightforward than books like Kafka on the Shore so it might work. Do let us know how it comes across.

  4. Your right Dark Puss Norwegian Wood is one of his more straightforward books so hopefully that will help the film adaptation work. I never got to see the film at the cinema as I was ill the night I was meant to go so I think I need to download it very soon.

    I’ll let you know how it goes, will you be watching it? What’s your favourite Murakami book? I’ve been trying to get in to Dance, Dance, Dance recently but I’m struggling with it a little. Norwegian Wood is still my favourite so I do hope the film is good!

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