“You can’t change who people are. Then what can you do? You love them.”

It’s been a while since I’ve happily closed a book and was weeping at the same time. Jojo Moyes was extremely brilliant in narrating the love story of her characters (Louisa Clark and William Traynor), a story so powerful that it still haunts me even after weeks of reading it. It was visual, easy to digest, and emotive at the same time — important elements that are no longer very common in this age of modern commercial literature.

When Hollywood decided to come out with the book’s film adaptation, I was so ecstatic — to the point of constantly replaying the film’s OST (Ed Sheeran’s Photograph) a gazillion times on my phone.

Yet here’s the thing…

I was infatuated with the book; I nearly liked the film. Always the case, I know.

The book had a total of 480 pages worth of text, which was more than enough to play around an interesting plot while teasing you and your emotions. Meanwhile the movie only had 1 hour and 50 minutes of air time to introduce the characters and their roles’ developments within the story, while interweaving it to other film elements (i.e. visual effects, soundtrack, actors who portrayed the role, etc.)

The book was regal and eloquent in its narrative, which almost felt like watching a real movie inside my head while reading. The film, although with a foxy cinematic rendition (with panoramic shots of castles & the turquoise sea, and a script with an overall cheerful tone), unfortunately lacked in depth. The story ran almost too fast, I was forced to recall some skipped scenes from the book in my head.

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And I begin to wonder whether those who didn’t read the book were able to follow closely as well?

Majority of the scenes were left dangling and it consequently left the viewers hanging — almost lost what to ask and expect: did the characters begin falling in love during the shaving scene or orchestra event or during the wedding party? What’s the real value of going to the islands for a vacation? Why did Louisa just easily let go of William towards the end? And did William also give up easily?

What the film lacked, the book was there to give you answers. So yes, this is another ‘the book is better than the movie’ type of film adaptation.

BUT HOLD ON — I still cried while watching the film. I cried when William started acknowledging he has feelings for Louisa. I cried when Louisa’s father talked to her and gave her the most sound advice possible about continuing to love despite the consequences. I cried when Louisa gave him her final kiss while he is on his deathbed.

So, it wasn’t bad after all.