For a variety of reasons, written works are frequently adapted for the screen. And usually there is a lot of debate about the adaptation – good, bad, or ugly. I’m of the mind that each work should (mostly) be viewed and judged on its own. Different mediums lend to different storytelling mechanisms. That said, comparing and contrasting adaptations allows interesting discussions. And it provides a way to consider the material in a new light. Today, let’s talk about Sharp Objects (and give you a chance to win a digital copy of the HBO miniseries – open to US residents in IGGPPC).
Originally published in 2007, Sharp Objects has received a lot of renewed interest based on the success of Gone Girl and the adaptation of it into a miniseries. Sharp Objects was Gillian Flynn’s debut novel. It is set in the small town of Wind Gap, Missouri. It follows troubled journalist Camille Preaker as she returns home to investigate the murder of a preteen girl and the disappearance of another. Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, she finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely.
Quite frankly, this is not one of Gillian Flynn’s strongest works. It feels like it is trying too hard to be dark and shocking. Despite that, the book is not nearly as creepy as HBO’s adaptation. The book provides more answers – about the hunting shack, Camille’s father, and of course the final conclusion. It’s a good read. But, as with most adaptations, I wonder how my view is colored by viewing or reading one version first (I watched the show before I read the book).
The eight-episode miniseries provides a faithful adaptation of the original source material while heightening the tension from the book. The performances from Amy Adams as Camille Preaker and Patricia Clarkson as Adora Crellin elevate the material. At times the added mystery can be frustrating and make the forward progress of the story feel slow, but on a rewatch, you come to realize the pacing feels right for a show sett in a slow, southern town. The languid feel is heightened by so many shots of circling fan blades. The changes made to the material, like golf carts to roller skates, seem to enhance the story and not detract from it. All the same, the series ending is jarring. While it does provide a conclusion, it also tends to create more questions than answers to all the mysteries.
Overall, I think the miniseries may be more powerful than the book, even with the lack of details at the ending.
Come to your own conclusions by reading and watching Sharp Objects yourself. The novel is available now. The miniseries Sharp Objects is available now digitally and on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 27th.
The Digital Download, Blu-ray™ and DVD includes an exclusive*, never-before-seen feature showcasing the creation of the fictional town of Wind Gap. And the digital download has some additional features like character pieces and the Anatomy of a Scene for Calhoun Day.
About Sharp Objects
Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.
About Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn is the author of Gone Girl, an international sensation that spent more than 95 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Gone Girl is a major motion picture from Twentieth Century-Fox. Flynn’s previous novels, Dark Places and Dagger Award winner Sharp Objects, were also New York Times bestsellers. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, she lives in Chicago with her husband and children.
About HBO Home Entertainment
HBO Home Entertainment develops, distributes and markets an extensive array of critically acclaimed and groundbreaking programs in multiple formats throughout the world. Releases include the global hit Game of Thrones in addition to many current hits and classic favorites. Launched in 1984, HBO Home Entertainment has offices in New York, London and Toronto. The company’s releases are sold in more than 70 territories around the world.