Building Your Own Expectations: Reading The Book After Seeing The Movie

Watching A Movie First Creates Less Expectations

by Rey Galvan (Staff Writer) – 11/2/15

The Help is one of the book adaptations that some fans should watch first
The Help is one of the book adaptations that some fans should watch first

For some people, there is always a difficult decision to make when deciding whether to watch a movie based on a book. The question many ponder is: should they read the book first and then watch the movie or vice versa? As a reader, I understand this feeling and struggled with this question. However, watching the movie first and reading the book afterwards is a better decision.

I’m not going to lie, I have been one of those people who read the books first and then watch the movie. As a Harry Potter fan, I soaked into all those magical installments and dived into that world. Every time I would watch the movie, I had expectations of what they should contain. That’s where I got it wrong. When you are a hardcore fan of a book series, you have these expectations of what they need to get right. You expect the directors to film this scene a certain way. You expect the people in charge of the wardrobe to have the exact wardrobe for the characters right. You expect the set designer to have the perfect and right set that you envisioned. That itself is wrong. When you set up your expectations, you set up yourself for disappointment sometimes.

When I was watching The Hunger Games, I was so busy looking for exact stuff to happen from the books. As a fan, I got angry that they didn’t include a specific scene or cut out an important line. I was so caught up on those specific things I wanted include that I didn’t enjoy the art of the film. Seeing the movie before reading the books is a wise choice because you go in with very small expectations and when you come out, you are pleased and thrilled with what you witnessed.

Build your own expectations and don’t watch the movie knowing the end. It takes away the excitement and takes away the shock factor from the film. However, that’s where some screenwriters are clever enough to alter the ending a bit or to make it something unexpected.

One example of this is when I watched The Help, featuring Emma Stone and Viola Davis. I expected the ending to be somewhat of a victory for Aibileen Clark, Davis’s character, but was shocked with a bittersweet and emotional ending. If I had read the book first, I wouldn’t have appreciated the scene as I did the first time I watched it.

Reading the book after seeing the movie is a clever choice because afterwards you can see the stuff that wasn’t there.

One example is when Beatrice Prior in Divergent changed her name in the film adaptation Divergent. She simply changes it and no one knows why. In the book, there is a chapter dedicated to her explaining her reasoning behind such a bold move. Four, her future boyfriend, tells her that because she’s starting over, she can change her name. She has a debate in her mind of what it means to her, especially her identity. In movies, you can’t immediately know what they’re thinking most of the time because their actions speak for themselves, with the exception of voiceovers.

Spoilers are a main reason for why you should read the book after seeing the movie as well. With Mockingjay Part 2 coming up, many fans have read the books and know what is to come. Some of their fans might be curious and ask what happens. Thus they end up spoiling the book and movie for them.

Although it is everyone’s own choice on what path they choose, the best choice is to grow excited and build your own expectations by watching the movie first.

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