Book Review: All the Bright Places – Book Vs Film

7 Reasons You Should Read All the Bright Places Before You Watch the Film

** With pretty much no spoilers! **

With the recent release of All the Bright Places on Netflix, I’ve decided to share 7 reasons why you should read the book before you watch the film.

Written by Jennifer Niven and published in January 2015, All the Bright Places became one of my favourite books I have ever read, and that is a lot for a film to try to live up to. Whilst the film was also beautifully powerful and tragic, the book offered a deeper and more complex story surrounding the life of someone who is dealing with mental health issues.

Two teenagers, Theodore Finch and Violet Markey have both already received more than their fair share of tragedy and life made it difficult to emerge from these dark places. However, it became much easier to find the light when they found each other. This is “the story of a girl who learns to live from a boy who wants to die”.

So before you grab the popcorn and dim the lights to cosy up in front of the TV, stick the kettle on and huddle up with your warmest blankets to read a story that will change your life forever.

1. Theodore and Violet’s Meeting

The meeting of Violet and Theodore plays a vital role within both the book and the film, however, they are very different from one another. Although both are meaningful and relevant in their own ways, the opening in the book allows the reader to understand the characters from the very beginning and provides an important foundation to get to know them.

2. You Will Fall Head Over Heels in Love with Theodore Finch

You will fall in love with both Theodore Finch’s, but you will fall head over heels for book-Theodore. Magnificently portrayed by Justice Smith in the film, Theodore’s character is much lighter and easier for the vast majority of people to relate to, whilst in the book, he is a rare and tortured soul more reminiscent of Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You (in my mind). I find Theodore’s story to be much more realistic and messy throughout the book, which I personally feel only adds to my love for him.

3. Missing Character

There is a significant character from the book missing in the film who has been semi-replaced with a less interesting and more irrelevant character. I found this part confusing as I didn’t see any need to cut this character out of the film unless it was purely for the purpose of condensing it. The extra character in the book provides the reader with more of a glimpse into Violet Markey’s past before she met Theodore, something that is greatly missing from the film.

4. Violet Markey is Passionate and Endearing

Jennifer Niven didn’t only write magic when she created the character of Theodore, book-Violet is just as interesting, with equal depth. A key factor missing in the book is Violet’s passion for writing, which was barely referenced throughout the film. This is an important part of Violet’s personality and an essential part of the storyline. Whilst still beautifully portrayed by the stunning Elle Fanning, film-Violet doesn’t have the same interesting qualities as she does in the book.

5. The Book Allows You to Understand the Characters on a Deeper Level

As beautiful as the film is, part of the beauty of the book is the way in which Jennifer Niven laid out the story. Each chapter in the book provides readers with the internal monologue of the characters, something which you just don’t see in the film, this allows you to get to know and understand Theodore and Violet on a deeper level and provides an insight as to why the characters are the way that they are.

6. Missing Scenes

Obviously, a film has to cut out some of the scenes from a book in order to tell the story within a couple of hours, however, it is confusing when these cut out scenes are vital to the storyline. In the book we are introduced to more family members, making it easier to understand why the characters are the way that they are and various other scenes, such as the opening, were altered. Because of this, key pieces of information are missing and some parts just do not come across in the same way.

7. The Storyline is Ultimately Different

Due to the differences between the book and the film, it is easy to enjoy both independently and appreciate someone else’s adaptation of the story. There are many variations between the plot, which you will notice if you read the novel, however, if you are more of a film buff and decide to dive straight into Netflix, you also will not be disappointed. The ending is the biggest difference for me. Although both endings are intense and powerful, the ending from the book is the one that has stayed with me for the past five years and I imagine, will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

So the bottom line is if you would like to get to know the characters on a deeper, more personal level, with a darker, messier and raw storyline, I would say, give the book a read first!

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