Monday, December 5, 2011

To The Movies: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

When a storyline from a book is turned into a movie, the movie becomes its own text. The basic storyline may be the same, but when changes are made in order to fit the movie within a time limit or to highlight an element or theme that the people involved in the movie feels is important—they make the story their own. I will focus these features on movies made based on books I have read—I want to look beyond whether I think the movie is better or worse than the book. I want to appreciate and review the movie as a companion to the book.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance
Actors: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, and Aaron Yoo
Director: Peter Sollett
Scriptwriter: Lorene Scafaria
Date DVD Released: February 3, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Movie Info: IMDB
Order Online:
Rating: 2 Stars
Borrowed from library.

In A Nutshell:
I liked this movie.  I could watch it more than one time and be satisfied.  But there was nothing about the movie that overly impressed me and there were a few things that I missed from the book.  Otherwise, it was just a good movie that was easy to watch.

There were a couple of things that differed from the book that I found disappointing.  First, the character of Tris.  In the book, her story develops.  We get to see that she is not quite as shallow or self-centered as she initially comes off.  In the movie, she never develops that aspect and because of it I felt that she was just a b***h in the movie.  It made the parts with her uneasy to watch.  Second, the music became more of a prop than central to the story.  In the book, the actual songs that Nick and Norah played when they were together matter--it was part of what drew them to each other.  In the book, we saw the iPod, they talked about music throughout, but we did not get to delve into the individual songs.  We had to take their words for it that Nick's playlists and mixes were wonderful--which seemed like an unusual choice for a movie where the playlist is central to the title.  But more than that, I was a little disappointed--after reading the book I wanted to hear the music that Nick and Norah talked about, the music that brought them together. 

One of the key elements of the book that I loved was reading the story from both of their perspectives.  I did miss that aspect in the movie.  There are attempts to bring that to the movie but most of the time the movie seems to be from the perspective of a third person looking in.  So when Norah lets Tal kiss her or when it looks like she will leave with him, as a viewer I was left questioning why.  Even at the end, I am not 100 percent sure of what she is thinking when it comes to Tal.  And I do not remember having so many questions about the relationship between Norah and Tal when I read the book. 

I could not think of a movie that I would recommend similar to this movie, so I am going to recommend a book that I absolutely adored that was similar to the novel:


  1. I liked Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (the novel)... I haven't watched the movie yet. Sucks that Norah's a bit two-dimensional in the movie. Might still give it a try coz I loved the book!

  2. I would definitely say rent (or netflix) the first time. :)