Drama | 2017
One night in the scorching hot summer of 1969, outcast Jasper Jones knocks at Charlie Bucktin’s window and beckons Charlie to follow him into the bush, where Jasper reveals to Charlie evidence of a crime – a crime for which Jasper is sure to be blamed. It’s a secret that will change Jasper and Charlie’s lives forever…and will tear their small town apart.
1) Did you like it?
First up, it’s taken me a while to watch Jasper Jones because I really enjoyed the book (which was written by Craig Silvey and published in 2009, by the way) …and I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand bad adaptations of books I love. I get grumpy when filmmakers take too many liberties with books. Or play it safe, and follow the book too closely. In summary: I’m pretty picky.
So, with all that in mind: yes, I liked Jasper Jones.
The thing with Jasper Jones is that it’s a seriously complicated book, with subplots galore – and even though it juggles some pretty heavy themes, it’s also genuinely funny.
Of course, the film can’t capture every one of the book’s nuances and threads. That’s always the case with film adaptations. However, Jasper Jones does a really good job of capturing much of what makes the book unique. Sure, there are a few questions that the film doesn’t quite have time to answer, but for the most part, this is a faithful, careful adaptation that does its source material justice.
(In fact, there are even a couple of elements of this story that the film actually improves, like the relationship between Charlie and Eliza, and Toni Collette’s portrayal of Ruth, Charlie’s mum, brings a humanity to the character that didn’t seem as pronounced in the book.)
3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…
…you loved the book. But that’s not to say that this will only be a hit with novel fans – it’s also set to become a classic in its own right.
4) This movie made me think about…
How rare (and welcome!) it is to encounter a good film adaptation of a much-loved book.
5) Overall rating?