I looked forward to this movie since I've completed all the books and I needed SOMETHING to get me through while poor Louise Penny has to hurry and write the next one. I think there are challenges when you have a bestselling/award winning series to keep up the pace and quality.
I love the characters so much and I knew that there was no possibility they could ever be captured totally effectively because so much of Louise Penny's books are internal monologues, and very cerebral. However, Nathaniel Parker was excellent as Lindley, so I KNEW he could do it. What happened???
But, even WITH Louise Penny contribution to the film (did they let her do ANYTHING toward the script? Was she so flattered that a film was being made that she didn't stand up for her people?), I was so surprised how few were ANYTHING like their literary counterparts.
From here, I'll try not to create spoilers, but if you haven't read the books or seen the film tread carefully here! :0)
First: in the books Gamache doesn't carry a gun. But in the movie he does. Seems like a small point, but tells you a lot about the man. I don't believe I've read that Armand Gamache wore jeans! Where are the tweedy jackets, and sweater that sort of define the man visually.
Jean-Guy dress is not accurate, either. Jean Guy in the film is sloppy, although I am not sure who could have pulled off the intricacies of the character in manner and dress. But crisp dress would have helped.
I agree with another reviewer who wondered what they'd done to Myrna. She's a large black woman who wears exotic clothing. WHO was that model thin and polished black woman who was not even introduced in the film, as who was the guy who played Gabri. Gabri is a gay man that roars with laughter, wears frilly aprons, and is devoted to his partner Olivier, the antique dealer. There is some attempt to show the bistro is also a antique SHOP with Gamache picking up a sales label on a table or lamp, but with no explanation, that was only for the readers who knew what that was all about.
Clara, where was Louise PENNY'S CLARA? Clara is klutsy and ditsy and loveably unkempt. WHO was the model who played her? I believe they cast Clara's actress sdue to her star status, only! Where was the paint on her body, face and hair? Where is the FOOD she wears? THIS shows without telling who this woman is. She is attuned to internals and barely notices externals. Plus, she's not an external beauty but definitely INTERNALLY gorgeous! So many other actresses could have handled this role, but THIS actress was good enough, given a chance. I also didn't really care for the OVERT flirtation. Gamche doesn't flirt back. That compromises what we know about him. Gamache is married to the most beautiful talented woman he knows. He is KIND. Penny tells us this over and over. He may be sexy to other women, but other women are not sexy to HIM.
Nichol was acceptable. The character is obnoxious and the actress who played her was annoying ENOUGH to be close enough for me. I didn't love her in the books, but I saw what Gamache saw in her, EVENTUALLY. That doesn't really happen in the movie, but at least you get the idea that she is there for a reason.
I knew they'd never be able to portray the actual star of the books, the mythical village of 3 Pines. And I think the location team did an excellent job doing so. The one thing they did RIGHT to capture this important character in the books.
I sort of can see WHY there area no other movies of Penny's books, but there COULD be with the right director/script-writer.
Maybe this start is to show other screenwriters what NOT TO DO!