I am incredibly unimpressed with the movie adaption of Sundays at Tiffany's. The book was a quick read and after it had sat on my shelf for months, I was able to read it in only a few days, devouring the sweet story of a girl and her imaginary friend before I watched the movie adaption this afternoon.
And truly, I was unimpressed with the movie which ultimately seemed as though it was an entirely different story.
One of the things that struck me most about Sundays at Tiffany's was the deep meaning behind it. Now, to be honest, I really don't like to overanalyze books (which is why I always hated English class) and thus I won't even suggest that I know all that the book Patterson was trying to convey with the story he was telling but it is very clear even to a novice like myself that there is a lot of meaning in this stunning romance novel.
First of all, it is about an imaginary friend. When I first read the blurb of Sundays at Tiffany's I pictured Michel as two people. I imagined that the story would be told from the perspective of Michael being her imaginary friend (a child) when she was young and a different person named Michael with very similar characteristics being her soulmate as when she grew up.
There are a few things that should be said about this but I want to start with what I think is one of the key things being portrayed by the book (which I largely only stumbled on because of the way I pictured the book being written).
See, I believe the book asserts something about our imagination. If it had been written the way I imagined the symbolism would have been even more clear but nevertheless, I still believe that the way Jane "imagines" Michael as a kid and then goes on to fall for him as a result shows something about what Patterson believes about soul mates. I think (and notice, I am only suggesting what I think, not making any claims that I am faultless) that, with this book, Patterson makes the claim that our imaginations can involuntarily create the "perfect" soul mate for us. Or rather, that the things we imagine and dream about as a child are important because whether we realize it or not, they can involuntarily contribute to our future (as in the case of Jane "imagining" a friend who would go on to become her lover).
What I didn't like about the movie, here was that it differed in its representation of Michael in two ways.
Michael was portrayed as both a child and an adult (in the book he is a permanent adult). This could have worked for the movie if they had done it well but I felt it detracted from the storyline. It meant that Jane didn't recognize him, it gave him an entirely different personality while an imaginary friend, and because of my second point, the transition was done poorly.
Michael's transition from "imaginary friend" to human was more immediate in the movie. In the book, Michael begins to experience symptoms that lead the reader to believe he is becoming more human. He cuts his chin while shaving for example. In the movie, he experiences all of these symptoms at once (he can no longer avoid pain, call money to himself, or hide from view). It also seems to the viewer that Michael transitioned from child to adult overnight as this is the personality he has (though this is never explicitly stated). This makes it harder for the viewer to fall in love with him, understand why Jane is falling in love with him, or feel comfortable with the sexual acts the two engage in (doesn't this guy have the mind of a 10-year-old boy after all??).
In general, the way Michael was portrayed made it much more difficult to grasp this symbolism or any of the other important ideas in the movie.
Most of which revolved around the relationships that were present between characters that simply weren't as present in the movie. For example:
Jane and her mother: Jane's mother (who by the way is Vivienne Margaux not "Vivian Claremont" as the movie calls her) is a terrible mother to Jane which is only barely portrayed in the movie. The one way the movie portrays her is with her desire to keep Jane from falling for a man too much and depending on him (she doesn't believe in love) but it is clear that she does this to protect her daughter. In the book, however, she invades "Jane-Sweetie's" space. Vivienne produces plays and allowed her daughter to produce a small play (Thank Heaven) about herself and her imaginary friend as a child. The play was a huge success and she met her boyfriend Hugh there because he was the lead actor. Now it is being made into a movie and her mother is taking over. If she wants one thing, her mother wants another. Her mother also tells her what to wear, redesigns her apartment, and tells her what not to eat. A huge portion of the book is about Jane breaking away from her mother's grip and choosing to live her own life. This was portrayed so well in the book and I loved the encouragement to say no and stand up for oneself as well as the encouragement to bring joy back to one's life.
Hugh and Jane: In the movie, Hugh and Jane are engaged and the storyline largely revolves around Jane deciding whether she loves Hugh or Michael. In the book however, the plot, while romantic, doesn't revolve around the romance. Jane has to choose to live her life for herself and that means rejecting her jerk boyfriend. In the movie, Hugh is not portrayed as quite as bad as he is in the book. Jane first ditches him quite early on in the book but then struggles with whether or not to take him back a few times. Finally, he proposes to her...in exchange for a part in her movie! The biggest part of the Hugh-Jane relationship tends to be the fact that Vivienne supports Jane's relationship with Hugh and desperately desires that she give him the part in the play. Thus, when she rejects him, it puts a strain on her relationship with her mother. It is Hugh following her around in desperation and her mother angry at her rejection of Hugh for the rest of the book that is the large portion of the relationship here, not an engagement.
Jane's Friend: Honestly there's not much to say here. The book doesn't give Jane a friend.
Overall, I absolutely loved Sundays at Tiffany's (the book). I felt the book was jam-packed with meaning and told an absolutely stunning story that, while romantic, included a lot more than just romance. While the movie felt like another cheesy chick-flick to me, the book was a true piece of art that I am glad to have on my shelf, and honestly, were it not for a few scenes that get a little intense, I might recommend it to an English teacher to thoroughly analyze with their students! I hope you get the chance to read it yourself.
Similar Books: The Time Traveller's Wife