I just finished my second night of a two-part viewing of "The English Patient" and it kicked my ass.
11:55 pm. Crying.
I mean, the way he knew she was in that cave all the while the British thought he was German because of his name and put him on the train. And now, I'm going to give it away so stop reading if you don't know the story, okay? Here it is: she dies. They're in love, she is hurt in a plane crash, he knows the desert inside out and walks for days because he knows where to get help and so he goes to get help but there's a war and so when he reaches the town he is misunderstood and thought to be a spy and so, she dies. Oh. my. god. The emotional torture of not being listened to, of then being imprisoned and taken away on a train farther away from the married (whoops!) love of your life. But it's not just that. It's Kip, the sapper who you learn MUCH MORE ABOUT FROM THE BOOK, no surprise.
I had seen the movie years ago, and finished reading the book a couple of days ago. The book is so skillfully written, so beautiful. The book illuminated the lives of all the characters so well; the detail, background, the layers. For example, the movie does not give much information about Hana, Juliette Binoche's character. She is easily a thin character, albeit important. The book, while written in such a way as to not reveal too much, feels rich at the same time it is sparse. It illuminates Hana's motivation for being with Almasy the patient, and talks about how she lost her father, her fiance; then her feelings after becoming involved with Kip.
I know what you're thinking. At least, I know what you are thinking if you were me. I would be thinking, "Books are a wholly different medium, of course there will be more specific information offered. The movie is nearly 3 hours long, and you want more detail???"
Yes, I know I am demanding and hard to please cinephile. Bibliophile. Whatever. However, I would take this moment to remind you that I loved "Swept Away". Yes, the Madonna thing. I know what you're thinking here, too, to which I would retort, "shut up. Thank you."
Because, I know.
This is a case where I would say it is safe to go read the book and then rent the movie and you will not be disappointed.
Now, I'm watching "Shopgirl" and I am. Disappointed, that is. It's a strange follow-up, but I'm not ready to go to bed yet.