Mumbai-born novelist Salman Rushdie made news last week while speaking at Emory University in Atlanta. Story here and here. His remarks concerned recent movie adaptations of literary works. He hated Slumdog Millionaire (“patently ridiculous”) as well as its source, Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A (“a corny potboiler”). Also in for a drubbing, The Reader (“leaden, lifeless movie killed by respectability”) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (“doesn’t finally have anything to say”).
No word on what he thought about two other literary adaptations from 2008, both of which I admired: Revolutionary Road, based on the great novel by Richard Yates (discerning movie-going friends concur that Kate Winslet’s performance was stronger here than in The Reader), and Elegy, based on Philip Roth’s novella, The Dying Animal. If you haven’t seen Elegy (beautifully directed by Isabel Coixet, best known for The Secret Life of Words and My Life Without Me), take a look and see if you don’t agree: Penelope Cruz, like Winslet, gives a stronger performance in a different 2008 film than the one for which she was nominated and won an Oscar.