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A Separate Peace (2004)
Great move though book is better
Having read the book 2x in school, I remember the story fondly. Seeing it enacted on screen gave me flashbacks and although i did not remember everything, i remembered enough. Since this is a dramatic movie, it's success depends on the viewers' emotions. I already knew the ending but i still felt a great sense of tragedy and sadness. It made me go look for my book and i ended up buying a new copy and reading it in one sitting. The book of course gives a much deeper, broader picture.
Things they coudld've done better: Reading the book, i was enthralled at its depth and complexity. the movie could've used more of that. since gene narrated the book, it is of course different on screen. and probably the biggest issue would be the war/ peace theme. the movie is called a separate peace, but what does that mean? these are 16-17 y/o boys who are enjoying their last year of "Freedom" before getting sent to war. The war hung over them like a dark cloud, but for Gene and Phinny, they managed to create their own world of peace with the two of them in it, and of course gene's fight with himself and the codependency of the two. in the book, we find gene is successful in life, at least financially, but it is never clear if he really defeated his inner demons, but it is clear that phinny i still a big part of his life. having read the book, i knew all of this and on screen i felt it but i know if i hadn't i would probably not get it.
the actors for all the major character, esp gene and phineas did a great job. the scenes with the two of them were magnetic and you could feel the friendship and the tension (of gene in the beginning of the movie) between them. despite the things they left out and didn't touch upon to deeply was, they managed to nail the friendship between the two. To see it finally resolved between them only for "it" (the ending of the movie, i do not want to spoil) to happen, i felt very emotion and felt the loss as if it were my own and because of that i recommend the movie
but i highly suggest getting the book first then watching. i hope this helps some