A fool and his money. In the 1930s, Adam Fenwick-Symes (Stephen Campbell Moore) is part of the English idle class, wanting to marry the flighty Nina Blount (Emily Mortimer). He's a novelist with a one hundred-pound advance for a manuscript confiscated by English customs. He spends the next several years trying to get money and to set a wedding date. He trades in gossip, wins money on wagers, then gives it to a drunken Major (Jim Broadbent), who suggested he bet on a horse in an upcoming race. Adam tries to get the money back, but can't find the Major. Meanwhile, Nina needs security, friends drink too much, and general unhappiness spoils the party. Then war breaks out. Is Adam's bright youth dimming with the fall of an empire?Written by
Having seen this film at the cinema and thoroughly enjoyed it I purchased it on DVD and then read the book so as to better judge whether the comments that the film was an exceedingly loose adaptation were true. It is certainly true that Fry hasn't stuck to the narrative strictly but the changes he made in the name of good cinema were overwhelmingly the right ones and he actually managed to bring forward some entertaining background characters and relegate some fairly tedious ones. For example Lord Monomark who is a Canadian Newspaper magnate shamelessly based on Lord Beverbrook is rairly mentioned in the book but is superbly played by Dan Ackroyd in the film whilst the PM Walter Outrage who features heavily in Waughs novel is barely mentioned in the film and rightly so as the character in the novel is a complicated amalgamation of contemporary politics (i.e Ramsay Mcdonald and Bonar Law)that even I having studied the period extensively found heavy going. Also whilst the ending is contrived to be too happy it is a marginal improvement on the novel in my opinion which doesn't seem to conclude the book very well. Overall a superb film with excellent production values and peerless period feel for which Stephen Fry should be commended. I just hope that he has a stab at at adapting Decline and Fall which is another excellent Waugh novel.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this