The Jolly Librarian’s Literary Movie Review: “The Family Fang”

First things first. Some basic information about the Jolly Librarian’s reviews:

The Jolly Librarian almost never goes to movies in the theater. Too many people chatting, checking their phones, and invading her personal space. So the movies in this column will already be available for home viewing.

Second, there must be a book connection.

Third, the Jolly Librarian knows almost nothing about movies, so the review will be basically whether she liked the movie or not.

Now, down to business:

Literature-loving Tennesseans were thrilled when they learned that Nashville resident Nicole Kidman wanted to make a movie out of Sewanee professor Kevin Wilson’s novel, The Family Fang.  This novel about a married pair of performance artists who force their children, Annie and Buster,  into their subversive actions of art is both funny and heartbreaking.  (Enough said. If you haven’t read this book, stop reading this review and go buy it or check it out of a library: NOW!)

The Jolly Librarian, although happy whenever an author is respected and comes to good fortune, was a tiny bit wary of what Hollywood would do to a such a wonderful, layered novel. But after the first thirty minutes, she stopped comparing the movie to the book and simply let the movie be itself.

And once that happened, the Jolly Librarian enjoyed herself indeed. The movie is faithful enough to the book that there was no throwing popcorn at the screen, yelling, “Where did you get that? That wasn’t in the book. That makes no sense.”  (Another reason the Jolly Librarian doesn’t go to the theater.) Both Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman portrayed Annie and Buster with a poignancy that may or may have not brought tears. The movie stood on its own merits as well as serving as a reminder of what a wonderful novel it was based on.

The Jolly Librarian recommends that you watch the movie, read the book, and write yourself a reminder that Kevin Wilson’s new novel comes out in early 2017.



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