Book vs Movie: Mrs Dalloway

Posted November 12, 2014 by Inge in Book vs Movie, Features / 2 Comments

Book vs Movie is a Bookshelf Reflections original feature, where we compare books to their respective movies. To see an overview of the comparisons we’ve already made, click here.

Once upon a time, there was a 22-year-old girl who developed a crush on Rupert Graves, so she ended up watching a bunch of his movies, as you do with a new celebrity crush. Mrs Dalloway (1997) was one of them. Then, a couple months later, she had to read the book for her English class. So really, this was the perfect opportunity for another one of those comparison posts.

To be perfectly honest with you, both were snooze-worthy. The story is about a woman who’s throwing a party, only she’s complaining about how her life doesn’t really have any meaning. There’s a second story about a former soldier struggling with PTSD. At first sight, these two seem to have nothing in common, but then their stories intertwine in the end, although only barely.

Literally nothing happens.

The book

Yowza, where do I begin? The only positive thing about this book was that it was only 165 pages long. I read it in two days, because it didn’t have any chapters. You know that feeling where you just have to keep reading until the end of the chapter? Well, they fixed that for you. The entire book is just one big block of text. It was a quick read, purely because I wanted to get it over with.

There is absolutely jack shit going on. Everyone’s moping and complaining and reminiscing about the past. 10 pages in, I realised it was going to be one of those books, and already I felt like I wanted to hurt someone. They were just rambling on about the most trivial things, and even if I drifted off for a bit, I didn’t miss anything important. All I could think was, “GET ON WITH IT ALREADY”.

This is just another one of those books that confirms why I’m not the biggest fan of classics. Everyone talks and thinks too bloody much, and there’s very little action. I once read a book about a guy selling cheese. That’s it. Just a guy selling cheese, nothing else. I thought that was one of the most pointless and uneventful books I’d ever read, but Mrs Dalloway could give that book a run for its money.

The movie

The movie was just as uneventful, only it was more entertaining, because I could actually see it in front of me. Things that were barely mentioned in the books were turned into actual scenes in the movie, which made it more engaging. I got a better feel of the past and present relationships of the characters, and just the characters’ personalities in general. While they remained paper people in the book, they were real people now.

I’d still have to put it under the category of “snooze-fest”, because I nearly fell asleep while watching it. The only reason I kept watching was because of Rupert Graves. I thought his performance as the former soldier with PTSD was spot-on. I’ve heard this is one of his best performances, and I’d say I agree.

The verdict

While both weren’t particularly interesting, I’m going to have to favour the movie, simply because the book doesn’t have this:


And if you don’t have that, you’re automatically a loo-hoo-se-her. If you get that reference, let’s be friends.

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2 responses to “Book vs Movie: Mrs Dalloway

  1. Bahahaha… I haven’t read OR watched Mrs Dalloway, and after your review, I’m not sure I really need to either! Ha ha ha… too many classics have the “literally nothing happened” syndrome. They must’ve been *really* easy to entertain back in those days.

    • That’s what I keep thinking. Well sure, they must have been entertained by endless descriptions and monologues, because how else did those books become classics? This is definitely one you can skip, although people do like it. I’ve been told that Virgina Woolf is “tough to read”.

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