How faithful is Noah Baumbach’s film to the book?

Noah BaumbachFilm adaptation of the classic 1985 postmodern novel white noise It was released in the final days of 2022, and for fans of the novel, the movie was a mixed bag. Some appreciate the efforts of Baumbach and co. In adapting what is widely considered an unadaptable piece of literature, a believer or a pervert depending on their choices. Others see Don DeLillo The original text is essential through and through. As a film adaptation of a novel told largely via internal narration, Baumbach’s film should be lauded as largely successful. It’s an adaptation that hits all the major narrative beats of the DeLillo novel, offering a more focused, streamlined version of the Gladney family story. white Noise Not a perfect movie, though. Its color choices can be a bit silly at times, and in changing some plot elements in the third act, the movie loses some elements of the simplistic narrative, mixing things together in a way that could have been entirely avoidable. It’s an interesting case of a movie that mostly tells the same story as its source material, but vastly prefers the goofy over the ridiculous and serious tone of what’s being adapted.

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Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver in White Noise with the family
Image via Netflix

Related: Noah Baumbach’s debut “Kicking and Screaming” was one of his best


Where the movie holds true

Where most novels jump from page to page, those who translate the work from mediocre to mediocre usually find a happy middle ground in telling the novel’s story and carving out their own plot points and narrative beats. In case white noiseFans of the novel do not have to worry about the movie story too much. Baumbach’s adaptation is very much the same book. Direct lines of dialogue are pulled straight from more pages than one can count, so if you watch the movie as soon after reading the book as I did, you’ll often feel a strange sense of deja vu. Film adaptations usually pull mainlines from their source script, but they rarely do so quite as Baumbach’s screenplay does here.

In terms of plot, this movie adaptation does the original justice. As mentioned before, trying to cram every last bit of the novel into a synopsis movie is next to impossible. The film divides its actions in the same way as the novel, although each film is introduced with its own title cards – waves and radiationAnd Airborne toxic eventAnd Dilarama. While the first two chapters of the movie manage to fit a fair amount of narrative into the runtime, the Dilarama The section appears to be the most affected. Jack Gladney (Adam Driver) is not as concerned with the state of his health in the movie as he is in the book. Instead, he was motivated almost entirely by a desire to find out what Dilar’s estate was, where his wife, Babette (Greta Gerwig(get it from and how to find the person)Lars Edinger) introduce it. This cuts out a lot of the stakes of the original story, however, allowing the movie to be more of the comedy Baumbach seemed interested in.

White noise novel

White noise change in humor

The biggest deviation from the novel is the film’s comedy. To be fair, when reading DeLillo’s original novel, humor is covered throughout all of its pages. Time and time again, Jack Gladney and his family are forced to confront absurd situations and conversations that challenge and defeat them in the most special of ways. Rarely does anyone vocalize or show their deep feelings of shame, waste, or insecurity, which in turn amplifies their fears. Because the novel is told from Gladney’s first-person viewpoint, we’re straight into the mind of an incredibly literal and troubled professor. Gladney’s novel is tired and monotonous from front to back, but grows in fear and anxiety after his exposure to a Newden derivative. While all of this sounds horribly depressing and not at all like fun, DeLillo’s characters are all so deep in denial and sure enough to avoid their problems that the novel takes on a genuinely funny sense of humor. The movie does not share this.

This is not to say that Baumbach’s movie isn’t funny, quite the opposite. Almost every performance in the movie is hysterical, namely Adam Driver’s Don Cheadle. While both characters share the pretentious academic nature of their fictional counterparts, the on-screen iterations of Jack Gladney and Murray Siskind Which we find looks as if it might fit better in an episode of Seinfeld than if it were a true adaptation white noise. where white noise The novel pokes fun at those in the academic world for being serious and lofty, white noise The movie not only makes fun of these characters, it makes them look like utter, oblivious idiot balls. Perhaps the funniest and most perverse scene in the film is the one in which Gladney and Siskind compare Hyatt Elvis Presley And Adolf Hitler in a university lecture. Cheadle pops up absurd facts about Elvis in a way that one could debate Confucius, while the driver manages to appear in and out of different corners of the room, always re-enters the conversation in a more theatrical fashion than before (especially a slow-burning entrance involving a window). It’s a great display of the comedic talents of these actors, but I’d be lying if I said this is how the book reads.

Cast white noise
Image via Netflix

White noise sends Gladney downriver

One of the other major deviations in the film is a scene that is nowhere to be found in DeLillo’s novel, one that involves a car chase through the woods that ends with the Gladney family stranded in a river. More than any other scene in the film, this one is the culmination of Baumbach’s goofy tone. As the Gladney family floats downstream, nonchalantly trying to figure out what to do next, you’re likely to get more flashbacks to a classic. National spelling film rather than any kind of postmodern satire. The scene culminates with the family station wagon coming to life and climbing up a hill in an adorable slow-mo shot of the car being airborne as everyone shouts “WOOOAAAHHH!” While it seems surprising that there would be a scene like this in the white noise Adapting to the movie, there’s no denying there’s a lot more to it than one could think of here. In the same way that Bombach toys are reliable and comfortable Spielberg-ian images and scale through Airborne toxic event the part, it also evokes the comedic cinematic language of National spelling And John Hughes Into the River Scene, using two familiar forms of 1980s filmmaking to inspire his satire on the familiar and dependent nature of 1980s consumerism. If you’re going to deviate from your source material, do it at least in an interesting way – that’s what Baumbach did.

white noise-adam-driver-greta-gerwig-don-cheadle
Image via Netflix

Smaller differences between the book and the movie

There are plenty of small, but acceptable, omissions that Baumbach made during the adaptation white noise. There are a few minor plot lines concerning a boy playing with death by interacting with snakes, Babbitt’s father coming to stay for a few days at Gladney’s house, Jack Gladney stealing a neighbor’s car, and more. The events of the novel feel somewhat loose as you read through it, but it ends up getting tangled up on the road more than you might expect. The omission of certain subplots from the novel meant that Baumbach had to alter the ways in which certain events or events occurred (how Jack Gladney got his gun, how Jack found Mr. Gray, etc.), yet they are all fairly simple – no Something too violent.

Babbitt’s inclusion in the climactic motel scene may improve or take away from the way the novel originally ends, depending on how you look at it. You can see the film as if it ends on a more unifying note for their families, as they work together to solve the horrific circumstances they find themselves in, yet it also seems as if Babette and Jack’s relationship will be the same in the future. While that is up to audience members who might want to read it, Greta Gerwig is the performer in the film that best reflects the personality of her fictional counterpart, so it’s nice that she has more room to work in this movie.

While the film rolls out on a light and breezy dance floor in a supermarket, Bombach’s deviation from the original novel’s bleak and bleak ending could not have been wider. Those who haven’t read Don DeLillo’s book white noise You could enjoy the movie as a silly and unpredictable comedy, but for those who are familiar with the book, this movie will ask you a fair amount, but if you give it some space, this will be a rich and rewarding new movie. Your mileage may vary depending on how far you want to remove yourself from a novel, but when translating a jam-packed book to the big screen, you’re bound to lose a few things along the way. The book is always there for you to enjoy, so why not stretch a little and find a new way to enjoy white noise? Baumbach’s opinion varies somewhat, but he finds more irony in evocations of some of cinema’s most iconic filmmakers, and is mostly applicable to the book adaptation of DeLillo’s 1985 postmodern classic.

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