Chile, second half of the 20th century. The poor Esteban marries Clara and they get a daughter, Blanca. Esteban works hard and eventually gets money to buy a hacienda, eventually to become a local patriarch. He becomes very conservative and is feared by his workers. When Blanca grows up, she falls in love with a young revolutionary, Pedro, who urges the workers to fight for socialism. It is unavoidable that Pedro and Esteban are pitted against each other. Esteban tries to stop the love affair between Pedro and his daughter by all means possible but soon Blanca becomes pregnant and has a daughter. The void between father and daughter seems unbridgeable when Blanca moves in with Pedro.Written by
We all know a movie never does complete justice to the book, but this is exceptional. Important characters were cut out, Blanca and Alba were essentially mushed into the same character, most of the subplots and major elements of the main plot were eliminated. Clara's clairvoyance was extremely downplayed, making her seem like a much more shallow character than the one I got to know in the book. In the book we learn more about her powers and the important effects she had on so many people, which in turn was a key element in the life of the family. In the movie she was no more than some special lady. The relationship between Esteban and Pedro Tercero (Tercero-third-, by the way, is the son and thus comes after Segundo-second-) and its connections to that between Esteban and his grandson from Pancha García (not son, who he also did recognize) is chopped in half and its importance downplayed.
One of the most fundamental things about the book that the film is all but stripped of: this is called "The House of the Spirits." Where is the house? The story of 3-4 generations of a family is supposed to revolve around the "big house on the corner," a line stated so many times in the novel. The house in fundamental to the story, but the movie unjustly relegates it to a mere backdrop.
If I hadn't read the book before, I would have never guessed that such a sappy, shallow movie could be based on such a rich and entertaining novel.
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