Monday, August 2, 2010

Hollywood Tackles Hester Prynne

I haven't been reading as much lately (bad Melissa), BUT I saw something interesting today as I flipped through the t.v. channels: a trailer for a new movie based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. The movie stars Emma Stone (Superbad, Zombieland) who pretends to lose her virginity in order to advance a gay friend's popularity. Because high schoolers are the MEANEST individuals on earth, they instantly begin to chastise Olive for her promiscuity. Olive combats the harassment by proudly displaying a red "A" on her chest.

...Now, I haven't read this book in about five years, but did I read something different? I don't really think this accurately reflects the plot of The Scarlet Letter even remotely except for the "A" Olive wears on her shirt and the title ("Easy A"--hahahhahahahaa! That's actually quite clever). Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against adapting classics to modern films. I think it's fun and I don't take it too seriously. I like 10 Things I Hate About You, She's the Man, and similar films. But it seems like Hollywood is kind of stretching for this one. I think the adaptation starts out well enough, but what about the ending of the book (if I remember correctly, there is a lot more guilt and a lot less "girl power"). I just don't understand how the themes of The Scarlet Letter can remain intact during its translation into a high-school teen comedy. Does anyone else feel that this classic is a strange choice for this project?

Watch the trailer on the official site.

And because I love this cartoon from The New Yorker, and it's somewhat relevant:


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  2. Found you via the hop! I'd be interested to check out this movie, mostly because I loved Emma Stone in Superbad and Zombieland. I agree that the plot above doesn't really sound like The Scarlet Letter, but then 10 Things really only follows the first couple acts of The Taming of the Shrew and leaves out all of the psychological torment Petruchio actually puts Kate through

  3. Oh well, Hollywood does what it does and Hawthorne is probably rolling in his grave. But, comedy can be a way to get people to look at issues like rumors, gossip, reputation, sex without seeming threatening. Instead of following the Scarlet Letter,perhaps it is pointing to the lessons from it. But, what do I know - not much!
    Stop by some time. I don't know how we could even "do" the Scarlet Letter in a modern setting where just about anything goes these days. The closest I can think is how some religious cultures today blame, and even execute, a woman for being raped.
    Following you. Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust