#51 in my movie challenge for the year is a Lifetime television movie, something I would normally avoid. Speak is an adaptation of one of my favorite books, though, (NB: not simply one of my favorite young-adult books, but one of my favorite books, period) so I wanted to give it a chance. I wasn’t disappointed. It is a good and faithful adaptation of Laurie Halse Anderson’s excellent novel. Kristen Stewart does an admirable job of portraying Melinda Sordino’s struggle to tell her story, while the movie does a nice job both of unspooling the backstory a little at a time, showing how quickly something can turn from fun and romantic to ugly. Of necessity, the film is not as detailed or complex as the book, but the casting and performances are strong, and it is worth watching. I noticed at least a few echos of My So-Called Life, such as Melinda’s dyed red hair, and two shots of her running down a hall and out a door. Speak is a lot darker than MSCL ever was, though, and it manages its tough subject matter without sensationalizing or downplaying it.

2 Responses to “Speak”

  1. emily Says:

    Now i wondered why I read this book. It must have been a subconscious memory of your recommendation. And you know, I didn’t like it much. I thought it was forced and unbelieveable. I didn’t hate it, as I thought the use of language was interesting, but I just didn’t buy it - contrived, I think is my best description. I’m surprised as usually we are aligned on stuff like this. Oh well. Maybe I’ll try the movie.

  2. girldetective Says:

    I didn’t find the movie a stretch, but I had some similar experiences in high school and college that may have let me find Melinda’s situation more believable than contrived. My favorite part of the book was Melinda’s voice, which was strong, distinct, and smart. Character voice is one of my favorite things, so if an author does it well, I’m likely to enjoy her book.