Welp, I couldn’t wait. We watched the movie (streamed from Amazon) last night.
Like I said yesterday, read the book first. The book let me fill in all the details the movie missed. And the movie certainly missed some details but Matt Damon sure is a wonderfully creepy Tom Ripley. He owned the movie. His performance made the missing pieces feel acceptable.
Watching the movie so soon after finishing the book made for an interesting comparison, particularly with the gay undertones of both the book and movie. In the book, Highsmith lets us draw our own conclusions. She throws the word queer around like you just don’t see these days. Maybe Tom is gay. Maybe Dickie is too. Maybe everyone’s gay! Then again, maybe the reader is just a bigot. The movie it’s a little more obvious. Tom is certainly gay. Dickie is certainly not.
Why the clear line? Stick with me on here for a moment.
My theory is that tone has to do with the time each was produced. In the 50s, when the novel came out, being gay was not always something one readily admitted. It served more a source of gossip than as an identity. Where in the 90s – as in the movie itself – things were a little more clear cut. A fellow wasn’t going to marry a girl just to keep up appearances. Ok it’s not a fully formed theory but it was fun compare.
I’ll stick with my original advice: always read the book first.