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1. Film Analysis

One of the main themes in the film is dependency.  Throughout the film Laroche displays his need or dependency on objects.  It is his passion to possess things that keeps him focused and driven.  His drive not only extends to possessing the orchids but he must also learn about them, grow them, and dissect them to truly understand what they’re about.  The film also shows the theme of dependency through Kaufmann’s and Orlean’s roles.  Kaufmann is constantly seeking the approval and acceptance of his peers.  He desires to create something so spectacular that he is accepted yet he has no acceptance of himself.  Throughout the film you see his deep seeded need for dependency when he interacts with his brother.  He then follows his brothers steps by attending the same seminar his brother did.  In the end he learns to depend on himself but through a series of events that help him evolve.  He finally learns to adapt to his life as it is.   Orlean however, is looking for a purpose and thinks she finds that in Laroche.  She begins her story and is dependent upon Laroche for information.  She later is dependent on his affection and becomes his lover.  Ultimately, Laroche is not enough for her and this drives her to use drugs which in itself is an example of dependency.

2. Book Analysis

The main theme in the novel,”The Orchid Thief”, is passion.  The novel focuses on how far one will go to pursue his or her passion, not just the passion itself.   As Susan follows Laroche and interviews him, we see her own passion of journalism come through in her writing.    She describes her journalistic style as her one unembarrassed passion.   In the novel, Orlean describes the passion for collecting things as a means for infusing meaning into life.  In the novel, Orlean finds she doesn’t really need to see the ghost orchid described in the book as much as she needs to possess the passion.  She wants to feel the passion Laroche feels through his obsession and dependence on orchids.  She hopes that by finding and understanding that passion, she can find purpose or meaning in life.

Internet Research

This is a youtube clip interviewing Orlean and her take on the film Adaptation.  She talks about how she thought her book was unfilmable but yet was approached to make it into a film.  She was sure when they decided to make it into a film, they would add sex and drugs-she was not mistaken.

This is an interview with Meryl Streep.  She talks about how much she really loved this scrip and was impressed with the director.  She mentions how one must watch the film more than once to truly get all you can out of this film.  Streep talks about the messages the film conveys and how each of us makes the choices thrown in this film.  We choose how we’ll live our lives, who we’ll sleep with and who we’ll become.

This final website is about Susan Orlean but also includes information about the film. It is a site that includes a blog about adaptation.  There are links from the blogs to any old blogs that have been posted.  There is also a tab to find out more information about The Orchid Thief or other books the author has written.  You can also find articles and appearances of Susan Orlean.  The best part about this site is that one can contact Orlean if they want to send her a question. I’m not sure if she’ll answer or how quickly she’ll answer but it would be fun to send a message and see what happens.

4. Critical Analysis Questions

In the film Adaptation, are the director Spike Jonze and the screenwriter Charlie Kaufman suggesting that a true film adaptation of a literary work is impossible? Or are they saying that some kinds of literary works are impossible to film? Or are they saying that it is precisely the impossible books that film-makers should try to adapt?

In the film “Adaptaion”,Kaufman and Jonze are trying to prove that when a book seems impossible to film, it is a book one should try to adapt.  In this film, the director was able to take Orlean’s book, that she described as being “non-linear nor suited for film” and create a film about it.  They took qualities of the book that were not explicitely written down and broadened those ideas in the film.  Orlean describes writing this book at a difficult time in her life, difficulties she had yet to voice such as a troubled marriage.  Kauffman was somehow able to take those problems and write them into the film.  They wrote the film using Orlean’s journalistic approach to finding a passion through the interviewing process.  In the film, we see Orlean and Kaufman both dealing with this quest in finding meaning in life.  We see how each of them takes a different approach and yet they somehow connect in their insecurities and the dependence of others.  Kaufman and Jonze took a book that was simply about an orchid and captured the deeper meaning behind Susan’s quest for passion.  Ironically, it was through their passion as screenwriters that this film was so brilliantly created.  While one might see a piece of literature impossible to capture on film, another might make an attempt to prove them wrong.  While brilliantly created, this film is another example of how books and film are two different mediums.  Aspects of one can be recreated using parts of the other.  However, a true interpretation of a book can never be put on film.  However, one final thought…If each person gets something different out of a brilliantly written book then how can one say the books meaning is unfilmable?  Isn’t that up to the viewer to decide if the true essence is captured?


The Hours

1.  Film Analysis

The main themes of this film are suicide and making choices about life and death.  Two out of the three women portrayed in this film contemplate suicide.  However, only one makes the choice to die.  She says that some must die in order for others to live.  The director of this film through cinematography intertwine the lives of these women by showing repetitive motions or objects that cross each of the womens lives. This is done to show how each of these women, though living in different times, still struggle with some of the same issues.  While Woolf struggles with ‘demons” or mental illness, her problem is no more heartbreaking than Laura Brown’s feeling of suffocation in her life.  While Clarissa is not stuck in a marraige she doesn’t love, she still struggles with finding a way to have a perfect world.  Her inability to save the one man she loves, or to make him happy, causes her to fall into a mid-life crisis.  Virginia Woolf’s answer to finding happines comes with choosing to die.  Laura Brown chooses to live but in the process makes death more appealing to her son later in life as he suffers with AIDS.  While Clarissa never contemplates suicide, she struggle with understanding her reason for living.

2. Book Analysis

The two main themes in Michael Cunningham’s book are the constraint of societal roles placed on women and mortality. 

 Laura is living a life that she thinks she’s suppose to live.  Her husband has fought in the war so she is playing the role as homemaker as desired by her husband and as expected by society.  While others from the outside might see her life as perfect, she doesn’t quite fit in this role and feels guilty because of it.  Clarissa, while living with a woman, lives in a stable home with regular routines.  She lives as a society wife and in domestic bliss or so it seems.  While Clarissa has created her home to her liking, from the outside she’s very distant and doesn’t know how she fell into the role she’s living an isn’t sure she likes her choices. 

The  2 main characters,  constantly reflect back on their lives and question the choices they have made.  Clarissa is torn between the life she lives now and compares it with her past life.  She feels like the best days of her life are gone.  Clarissa often feels insignificant when she makes mistakes.  She feels like being insignifican in her role in life is no different than death.  Laura feels trapped in a role as a housewife that she doesn’t want to live in.  She constantly looks for an out and thinks suicide is the answer she is looking for.  She wants quiet in her life and knows that with death she will finally find the peace she longs for.  In the end she doesn’t commit suicide but  stands at the threshold of death.

This is a youtube video with movie excerpts but also actor/actress interviews.  Each actress gives you a little insight about the characters they play and how each of the characters connected to one another.  The clip takes you through some of the main themes the director is trying to convey with this film and makes the movie a little clearer to the viewer.

This site is one that reviews Cunningham’s book.  In addition to reviewing the book however, it includes favorite excerpts from the novel.  It also has a messag board for fans to add their insights to the site.  It also has a section of books fans might enjoy if they enjoyed this particular book.

This is an interview with Nicole Kidman and her role as Virginia Woolf.  The interview discusses how she prepared for the film.  It discusses how the movie role has left an impact on her life.  And, it even discusses the prostetic nose.  It’s interesting to read interviews with the actors because you wonder what their reactions are about their characters and if their thoughts are reflected when they act out a scene.  Reading interviews give a better insight to films.

4-Critcal Analysis Question

Compare the way Leonard Woolf nurses Virginia to the way Clarissa nurses Richard. How are these situations different, and how do they respectively reflect the times in which they were living?

In the film, Leonard Woolf cares for Virginia by surrounding her by lots of servants but by keeping her locked away.  He believes she is a threat to herself so instead of socializing her, he makes her be alone with her thoughts.  He tells her constantly she should eat according to the doctors recommendations.  However, he rarely sits down to eat with her.  In their lifetime, her “illness” was found to be socially unexeptable and so the solution was to lock her away.  People were not tolerable of mental illness and therefore they didn’t want to see people with it.

In Clarissa’s story, there is a significant difference.  Richard is living with AIDS in a society that is more tolerable.  Clarissa doesn’t want Richard to be locked away, but he chooses to cut himself off from society.  She wants the world to see him in hopes that her love will help him get better.  She wants the world to find the greatness in Richard and to show the world how “normal” he is despite his illness. 

Despite Richard and Virginia living in different eras, with different stereotypes, each one felt like a burden to their care givers.  Each one felt helpless in their quest to get better and chose death over another day of being ill.   While each chose to die in a different fashion, each one was at peace with their decision to die.

Bride and Prejudice

1-Film Analysis

Some of the main movie themes are love, marraige, and family values.  Throughout the movie, the parents are trying to find husbands for their daughters.  The parents want their daughters to not only be happy but to find that happiness by finding someone with money.  The 2nd oldest daughter Lalita and Jaya are interested in marraige as well but are not willing to give up their family values or the idea of love simply for the love of money.  Lalita soon falls in love with William Darcy but is turned off by his “imperialistic ways” because of his inability to embrace the traditions of Amritsar.

2-Book  Analysis

There are many themes that occur throughout the book “Pride and Prejudice.”  Some of the obvious themes are in the title Pride-Darcy is proud of his place in society and thinks anyone not in his social circle should be scorned.  Prejudice-this goes hand in hand with Darcy’s misconceptions about people outside of his social circle.  In order for Darcy to accept Elizabeth as a suitable wife for him, he must first lose the prejudice ideas that she is beneath him based on societal ideas.

Women and marraige is a major theme in the book.  When Austen wrote this book, women rarely married for love.  Women married to gain financial security.  In the novel, there are 5 Bennett daughters that the mother is desperate to marry off.  At a ball each of the daughters attend, the eldest daughter Jane makes a connection with Mr. Bingly.  At this same ball Mr. Darcy notices Elizabeth but she thinks him arrogant and refuses to fall for his good looks.  Throughout the rest of the novel, there are many love connections.  Some are for financial gain (Lucas/Collins) and others for love (Jane/Bingley) and eventually Elizabeth and Darcy.  While Darcy will bring financial gain to Elizabeth, their connection is based on love that occurs after much courting.

3. Online Reserch

This is a fan tribute video to Aishwarya.  The music is from Casting Crowns “Who am I.”  It’s beautifuly pieced together to capture the movie.

This site is one dedicated to fun facts and quizzes about Bride and prejudice.

This is a fun website (blog) about Jane Austin.  The blog includes a history section and one can read about the regency era.  There is a whole section for teacher/students about Jane Austin including articles and biographical information.  There are also links to all things associated with Austin’s books.  For example, under the novel section one can look under pride and prejudice and find study guides, screenplay examples, scripts, and blogs

4. Critical Analysis Question

In musicals, the viewer needs to suspend disbelief (such as when people in the street spontaneously burst into song and dance) in order to enter the world of the story. Were you able to do this while watching Bride and Prejudice? Why or why not?

I really enjoy  bollywood films and their over the top singing and dancing.  In bollywood films the actors usually sing about everything and I think it’s fun and a little silly.  I didn’t actually know the story “Pride and Prejudice” prior to watching the film but was able to understand the storyline despite the fact that there was a song in every other frame.  I think movies like this are an acquired taste.  I love musicals so for me I always look for the story around the music or within the song.  My favorite song had to be life without wife.  It made fun of the expectations of a traditional wife and so it made the story lighter.  In Austin’s novel women’s roles were not looked at so lightly but that was part of what the director was trying to convey.

Sherlock Holmes

Number 1-Themes of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes’ main theme included a depiction of Holmes as having an obsessive-compulsive disorder.  In one scene Holmes is playing different pitches with his violin to show the different patterns the flies make depending on the pitch being played.  He claims to have been at that for the past 6 hours.  One film technique Ritchie uses has already been discussed in this class.  Ritchie shows how a clever mind takes the time to think things through at a slow pace.  Then without skipping a beat, the scene is repeated in real-time.  This process further highlights Holme’s obsessive-compulsive disorder and how his mind works.

Number 2-Book Themes

In the story “The Mazarine Stone”, the main theme is how Sherlock Holmes is working on a serious case.  When working on any case, he believes that depriving his body food will allow him to focus better on the job at hand.  While Holmes in the film version is well-trained in Martial Arts, the Holmes in the book makes it very clear that he does not approve of violence.  Another theme of this story is Holmes ability to be a master of disguises.  In this story he has dressed in several disguises and he has created a wax figure of himself in order to fool the nosey neighbors.  In the end he is able to catch his “prey” when they are unaware of the secret doors his home possesses.

Number 3-Websites!/group.php?gid=66076187813

This is a fan site one has to join to access it.  It has about 30 fans only but the site has photos, a discussion board, and movie information

This is fun video made by a fan.  The site has movie clips and is played to Breaking Benjamin’s “I will not bow.”  They did a great job with this song and the clips they used.

This site is really fun.  It’s not only related to the movie but is related to everything Sherlock Holmes.  You can find Sherlockian quotes on this site as well as games and news.  There is a discussion forum as well where fans can share their thoughts.  Fans can also add a tweet from this site so if one is interested in learning the back history along with current Sherlock information this is a great site to visit.

4-Critical Analysis Question

How does Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes compare, as a reboot, with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland? Do they follow the same pattern, or does Ritchie do some things differently?

Both Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland are similar to begin with in that both have so many versions of them it’s hard to know which is the original.  Obviously, we know what the originals are but every person doesn’t always grow up with that original version.  When Tim Burton and Guy Ritchie  decided to do a film, it was based on their memories and how they saw the characters.  Tim Burton, was only familiar with the Disney version and didn’t really enjoy anything out there.  He worked closely with Linda Woolverton to create a version that told a story with the graphics and imagery.  As for Guy Ritchie, he wrote his film based on his memory of the Doyle files of Sherlock Holmes.  He interpreted the movie as he remembered it but then changed it so it could be a great box office hit.

Tristram Shandy 4

The producers of the film-within-the-film seemed obsessed with battle scenes and love stories. How is this a send-up of Hollywood-style entertainment films.

Hollywood style entertainment films are obsessesed with love stories and huge battle scenes.   Most  hollywood big box office films are backed financially only when they’re guaranteed to bring in mass audiences.  Hollywood producers and film directors try to lure audiences in with movie trailers that show something blowing up or by creating a dramatic love scene.  In the film, Winterbottom depicts this hollywood obessession by having the producers in the film spend many hours on creating the perfect battle scene.  Their obsession becomes so over the top they fail to notice the inaccuracies of costumes and dialogue.   Often times, these inaccuracies occur in real films when movie dierectors and producers bypass accuracy in exchange for a box office hit.

Tristram Shandy-3

This website is dedicated solely as a sound board to review the film Tristram Shandy but it’s a great way to see how others percieve the film.

This website reviews the movie and is done by Margaret and David at the movies.  The site includes a video excerpt of the movie and gives information about the production of the film.  The site also allows guests to pipe in with their own opinions of the film.

This site is used predominately as a site for audience members to review the movie. Audience members are able to rate the film with worthy stars.  This particular site has a 2 minute video for viewing.  The site has given an overall rating of the film at 91% rotten tomatoes


Tristram Shandy-2

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is a novel written through Tristram Shandy’s point of view.  It is a story that instead of being written chronologically, ends up being written with digression after digression.  Through these side steps the reader learns about the people most influential in Shandy’s life.  We learn about events that occurred in Tristram’s life only through being introduced to other family members.  We learn about Tristram’s accidental circumcision.  We learn about Widow Wadman’s attempt to seduce Uncle Toby, and we learn about Uncle Toby’s war wound.  The story is neither linear or to the point but through a series of unexpected events, we learn about Tristram’s relationship with his mother, his father, and his Uncle Toby.