Eventually this site will be built out with some logical structure to it, so readers can find how the movie veers off from the book (in almost every way possible, actually), what clues to the movie’s plot and meaning can be found in particular lines of dialogue or shots, and what the multitude of references to other works mean in context to the film.
I’ll get there eventually … I hope … but I’m going to start off like I usually do on my sites and just start blogging, throwing out some clues along the way. I’m going to go sequentially through the film and write about everything significant that I notice.
So here are my first two notes based on the opening of the film. First, the title sequence features close up shots of wallpaper panning down. This wallpaper is in the parents/janitor’s house. These shots immediately put me in mind to the opening credits of the Coen brothers’ 1991 film “Barton Fink,” which also opens on a downward pan of wallpaper. In that movie’s case, the wallpaper was in Fink’s room in the Hotel Earle. This wallpaper would later start peeling off and Fink would spend many hours staring at it while he suffered with writers’ block.
The reference to writers’ block brings to mind Charlie Kaufman’s 2002 film “Adaptation,” especially given that this is another Kaufman movie adaptation of a novel. The nod to the Coen brothers could be purely random or it could be a hat tip. Kaufman will never tell. (But wait … he tells far more than you might expect in this IndieWire interview.) This is not a significant “Rosetta Stone” note, just something I found interesting and curious.
The next thing I notice is that the opening speech given by Lucy/Lucia/Louisa/Yvonne/the girlfriend (she is not officially named in the closing credits or in the closed captions) is word for word from the Iain Reid novel. For readers of the book, this might give a false sense of security that what is to follow will largely match the book. It does not, and Reid details a lot of the differences in this Yahoo entertainment article.
Not a lot to chew on as we begin the journey, but read the linked pieces, they set the scene pretty well for what to expect coming up. The boyhood room of Jake is a critical juncture in the film that sets up almost everything that comes afterwards.