|If you watch the film “About a Boy” that is based on Nick Hornby’s novel, you will notice many striking differences between the book and the film. Admittedly the message and the characteristic traits of the story are the same. But nevertheless the movie differs from the novel in many details:
In the film there are not so many interesting and profound thoughts. and the depression of Marcus´ mother is not described in detail. Because of that the serious background of the story does not become clear. Also the ending of the story is changed. In the book there is a passage about the relationship between Marcus and his mother and about Will taking Alistair and Marcus out every weekend. In the film the “concert episode” is added. In this scene Marcus is singing at a school concert for his mum. He sings “Killing me softly”. By that he makes a fool of himself. Will has a presentiment of this embarrassing situation and because of this he wants to help Marcus. He drives with Fiona to the school concert. When he sees that Marcus is already on stage and everybody is laughing about him, he takes a guitar and accompaniments Marcus´ singing. Then everybody likes the song. After the song is actually finished Will goes on playing guitar and singing. So he makes a fool of himself for helping Marcus. This “concert episode” causes action and increases tension . It is a humorous part of the film. But it also shows Will´s change of mind. He has become much more social and he worries about Marcus´ reputation also he has no advantage by helping Marcus. This scene is the climax of the film. In the ending of the film there is also the Christmas party. This is more like a happy ending than the book´s ending. So it is much more attractive to the audience. In addition it is connected to the other Christmas party. It underlines the harmony and shows that they have become as close as family members are.
I liked the costumes of the actors. Especially Marcus was dressed as I imagined when I read the book. But I wondered why Fiona´s jacket had a hood made of fur , although she is a vegetarian. Even if the fur is artificial it does confuse the viewers. The choice of actors and actresses was right although I imagined Clive looking and behaving different. The music that was played in the background underlined the plot very well.
In my opinion it is comprehensible that the film differs from the novel, because it is quite difficult to compress such a complex story. In addition it is difficult to integrate monologues in the film, but this problem is managed quite good.
All in all I think that the film and the novel are quite different, but that both are worth of watching respectively reading. If you look for an entertaining, humorous story that is at the same time profound and makes you think about themes like love, friendship, human relationships and family, you should read the book. If you rather want a funny, simple comedy for one evening, you should watch the film.