Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “Nicole Kidman”

Movies into Books

Reading a really great book can evoke the response of “Wouldn’t this make a great movie?”  Hollywood might be fall down from lack of source material without all those great reads out there.  Then again, I admit there are some really great movies that would make great books.

1. The Visitor: 2007/Richard Jenkins

The Visitor (2007) Poster

Walter, a widowed college professor, travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young illegal immigrant couple, Tarek and Zainab living in his apartment. While an uneasy friendship forms between them, the relationship becomes complicated when Tarek is arrested and Walter tries to help prevent deportation.

The movie sensitively presents the issue of immigration and illegal immigrants without too much political statement. The richness of moments and dialogue between the characters is what takes the movie to a level of deeply appreciating the various paths each human takes while journeying through life.

I would like to see this as a book to better “hear” each character’s thoughts, perhaps presented in the new chapter omniscient format.

Cover of "The Interpreter (Widescreen Edi...

Cover of The Interpreter (Widescreen Edition)

2. The Interpreter: 2005/Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn

Political intrigue and deception at its best. Set  inside the United Nations, Nicole Kidman plays an interpreter who overhears an assassination plot and CIA agent Sean Penn is assigned to investigate whether there is validity to her claim. Both are hurting from personal losses and form a bond from their mutual pain.

I would like to see this as a book because it is an intelligent thriller that explores aspects of an unknown field of work to me: United Nations interpreter. There are twists and turns to the plot that would make it a definite page-turner. And while Penn and Kidman’s characters are attracted to each other there is no distraction of a romantic relationship sideswiping the plot.

3. Flawless: 2007/Michael Caine, Demi Moore

Set in 1960s London, Michael Caine and Demi Moore both work for the London Diamond Corporation. Caine, a custodian about to retire, convinces Moore, the lone female executive who longs to break the glass ceiling, to get back at the company that has wronged them by lifting a few diamonds. A heist film of high caliber, exploring class and gender constraints.

I would definitely like to see this as a book because who can resist an intelligent whodunit heist? No murder, per se, just well-written character portrayals with a death on the side. Oh yeah, all those diamonds disappearing is pretty good intrigue, too.

4. Finding Forrester: 2000/Sean Connery, Rob Brown

Rob Brown, in his first role, plays a high school basketball player who happens to be a writing prodigy. He hides his writing in journals he carries in his backpack. On a dare gone wrong, he inadvertently leaves his backpack in an apartment he and his friends explore.  Sean Connery executes a fine performance as a reclusive author who wrote the Great American Novel and retired from writing and the world.

adaptation by James Ellison

Actually this did come out as a book and  held its own.

One thing noticeable about my choices is they are about issues and relationships. CGI nowhere to be seen.  Hmm, that says something, doesn’t it?

So–what movies to books are you hoping for at the  library near you?

A Woolf in Read’s Clothing


My first vague acquaintance with Virginia Woolf is associated with Elizabeth Taylor. Both are pivotal influences in their chosen professions.  As a last wave baby boomer cI recall a bit of a fuss when the movie Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? came out.  Not being a Disney-generated flick my parents did not take me to see it.  In my childhood bliss of perceptual naiveté I believed Elizabeth Taylor to be Virginia Woolf and from the TV trailers she appeared to be a daunting person.  I could see why some might be afraid of her.


My second encounter with Virginia Woolf came way later when I began teaching high school English. Woolf’s essay “A Room of Her Own” was part of the senior lit curriculum, a prelude to a brief study in feminist writing.  Still getting my bearings about Shakespeare, I discovered through Woolf’s essay Shakespeare had a sister! I thought him to be like Atlantis, known but unknown, shrouded in mystery, waiting to be actually proven.  A sister?  It sent me scurrying to dedicated research and though Woolf got it all wrong about Willie’s sis, I now know much more about the Bard.


The third encounter came way of Meryl Streep.  She’s a fave, so I couldn’t resist picking up The Hours at the library.  Fascinating film (I admit some parts tweaked my comfort zone and my daughter squeaked, “you watched The Hours!”–my prudery is too well-pegged by family members). What truly fascinated me was Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf.  No wonder she received the Academy Award for her performance. A tortured artist always leaves me wondering  the why/what behind the reason of taking his or her  life instead of living it.


Finding Virginia a bit overwhelming I didn’t do my usual research and read on her. To be honest, although she intrigued me,she also made me nervous, much like James Joyce.  So much, almost too much in their writing for me to comprehend and absorb.  I felt unprepared to read her works.

At present I am a tiny bit more confident having an AP Institute training and one year of AP Senior Lit and Comp seated firmly on the resume.  I thought, “Okay, Ginny, let’s give it a whirl.”  I pulled down Orlando off the shelf and settled in for my summer chaise in the shade read.


I wonder if her writing would have been published if her husband had not set up Hogarth Press expressly for that purpose? Her writing is amazing, this is true. It’s rich, masterful, and paradigm pushing. Deemed ahead of its time, both Virginia and her writing nevertheless appeared to be respected and applauded.  Overall, I will have to pass on Virginia Woolf and her modernist approach to literature.  She and James Joyce are just enough of a different cup of tea to not be on my reread list.

I followed through on my research since I did not do my read on her.  I will definitely include her in my overviews on modernists. Virginia Woolf  may not be among my chosen authors; however, I do acknowledge her place in the literary hall of fame.


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