Grieving after the death of her young son Joseph, novelist Betty Fisher enters a dark depression. Hoping to bring her out of it, her mother Margot arranges to kidnap another child, Jose, to...
See full summary »
Grieving after the death of her young son Joseph, novelist Betty Fisher enters a dark depression. Hoping to bring her out of it, her mother Margot arranges to kidnap another child, Jose, to replace the son Betty lost. Although she knows it's wrong, Betty accepts Jose as her new son. Meanwhile, Jose's mother Carole is looking for her son with the help of her boyfriend Francois and some of his criminal cohorts.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
In the scene in which Alex goes to the bookshelf and pulls down a book in which some money is hidden, all the books on that shelf are by Ruth Rendell, who wrote the book this film was based on. The cover of the French version of that book, entitled 'Jeux des Mains', is prominently displayed when he pulls down the book. See more »
I can now understand why authors feel leery about letting screenwriters adapt a novel. First of all, a full length novel doesn't translate well to the screen. There are too many nuances and too many details, that trying to do them all, will humble the most talented scribe.
Take the case of the novel in which this film is based. The Tree of Hands by the magnificent British master of suspense, Ruth Rendell. The adaptation has nothing to do with the brilliant narrative she gave us with this novel. If anyone wants to see the best adaptation of a Rendell book, I would recommend to see Claude Chabrol's, "La Ceremonie".
Not only was that a superior film, but it reveals the essence of the book with little effort.
The problem with "Alias Betty" is Mr Miller's scenario. He has changed the basic premise of the book into something else. Now, don't get me wrong, it is a better film than some of the mediocrity coming from France lately.
The big problem is with the character of the mother. Nicole Garcia is out of her range here. Not only that, one never understands what's wrong with her, even though she appears to be schizophrenic. She's a loose cannon up to no good. In the novel she's even more so.
Betty is ambiguously played by Sandrine Kiberlain, which in a way, suits the character better. She is the only sane person around, even though she is unable to control the mother.
The minor side plots add to the story, but everything at the end is resolved so easily that one wonders if anything like that is possible in life. The films end in an upbeat note, even though it has nothing to do with the original novel.
13 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this