Sunday, 22 June 2014

Movie Enthusiast: A Long Way Down

Nick Hornby wrote a book and so they made a movie out of it. Such is the nature of things. 

The premise: "Four people meet on New Year's Eve and form a surrogate family to help one another weather the difficulties of their lives."

The genre boxes: Dark comedy, drama, inappropriate Breaking-Bad-quote inducer 

The reaction: The book was better. (This is the first time such a sentiment has been uttered. Take note, historians.)

The part where I say more things about it: A++ casting, Nina Gold (thanks, IMDb). Pierce Brosnan is perfect as the disgraced media personality Martin Sharp, though a bit more likeable than Book-Martin. Toni Collette is waaaay younger than I pictured dowdy and downtrodden Maureen, but she kills it, on account of she's Toni Collette and she can do whatever she damn well pleases. Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots are not at all what I imagined JJ and Jess to be, but 15 minutes in I was on board. I mean, 

look at Aaron Paul and his adorable face. 

(Jess can be grating, but so can Book-Jess. [And, like in the book, you feel a bit bad for thinking she's grating and wind up loving her anyway. So well done, there.]) 

Story-wise, they pretty much stuck to the book, as far as I can remember; until they didn't. (I need to re-read it, but I lent my copy to a co-worker and then moved. I have two of her books. Sorry, Laura! [She does not read this blog. {I am still sorry.}]) It's still a story of an unlikely band of suicidal misfits. It keeps a nice mix of humour-that-you-only-sometimes-feel-bad-for-laughing-at and touching moments. Maureen's story was moving, as it had to be. They did have to skip over a great deal, on account of time; and they sort of polished it and made it happier than the book, which was a bit of a miss, for me. 

The ending was entirely different, and there is one thing in particular that I think was a divergence from the book, but I'm not totally sure. So if you've read the book and don't mind having the movie spoiled, please read this next bit; otherwise, skip to the terrifying cat GIF:

Movie spoiler goes here! Avert thine eyes, spoiler-wary. Do Jess and JJ have a love story in the book? Like, together, I mean. No, right? Because they did in the movie and I was pissed. Remind me whether I should be pissed at the book, too.

Super terrifying, right?! At first it's cute, but then it reminds
you of The Yellow Wallpaper and you never sleep again.
Ah, right. Sorry about that.

I'm contractually obligated to like all things Nick Hornby, so I did like it. It left me wanting to watch About a Boy and read High Fidelity, but really, so do most things. Actually, now I really want to watch High Fidelity, too.


The verdict: Watch it if you're an Anglophile because there are some nice London shots, and watch it if you're a Hornbyphile because you can't help yourself. If you are neither of these things, watch High Fidelity. (If you are both of these things, watch High Fidelity.)


  1. Okay first, I read Hornbyphile as Hornyphile and I was really confused - because suicide is a turn on? Because Aaron Paul is beautiful? I'm glad I solved the riddle by reading correctly.

    Second, it's been like 4 years since I read this book but I'm pretty sure (SPOILER) that they didn't get together. That's my least favourite Hollywood choice. Not every movie needs a Damn romantic sub-plot between the two young hotties.

    This wasn't my favourite Hornbyphile book, but I'll still see it. And then come home and watch High Fidelity.

    1. Haaa, Hornyphile. Capitalized, no less.

      Re: (SPOILER) - RIGHT?! I didn't think so. Damn you, ubiquitous romantic subplot.

  2. I had to skim part of this cos SPOILERS but the bits I did read...yes, good, I will need to read this and then watch High Fidelity. Maybe this movie too but yeah, High Fidelity always. I will probably watch this too because Toni Collette. Well done

    1. Uuuggggh, High Fidelity. You are my favourite. It's on UK Netflix, FYI.

  3. *whispers* I haven't read ANY Nick Hornby. Like, none. But I have Juliet...Undressed? No that's not right. Whatever, you know which one I mean.

    Imogen Poots. Her name is a complete sentence that makes me giggle.

    1. Hahaha, JULIET, NAKED, yes, I do know which one you mean. That one was good! I liked it, at least. Not my favourite, but still Hornby.

      Our brows are the highest when it comes to humour ("Poots," *sniggers*).

  4. Wait so....if Megs and I are gonna read Nick Hornby....which Nick Hornby do we read?

    1. HIGH FIDELITY is my favourite, but I think ABOUT A BOY is the accepted best? Yes, I'd say. Also A LONG WAY DOWN really was excellent.

  5. I didn't know they'd made a film of this. About a Boy is, yes, I think the accepted best -- though I say that without having seen High Fidelity. I'll watch it soon, and I'll see if I can get this at the library as well, because Aaron Paul.


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