What I hope Hulu will get right in "The House of the Spirits" TV series

Isabel Allende recently announced in a Facebook post that Hulu is in the beginning stages of developing a TV series based on her debut novel The House of the Spirits. 

I read this book for the first time last year, and I loved every bit of it, so I was thrilled to read the news. While reading comments on the post, I discovered the book was previously made into a feature film in 1993. (Forgive me for not knowing, but I was a baby when that movie was released.)

Many of the commenters doubted the new series could compare to the film. The 1993 film stars Meryl Streep. M-E-R-Y-L  S-T-R-E-E-P

Without even first checking movie reviews, I rented The House of The Spirits from Amazon and watched it on Prime Video. It didn't take long to realize what a disappointment the 1993 film adaptation is. It's obvious that for the sake of time, many parts of the story are simply cut out. The film focuses on the relationship between Esteban and his daughter Blanca instead of his relationship with his granddaughter. Uncle Marcos, the twins, most tragically--Barrabás don't exist in the film adaptation. Much of the plot is cut, and as a result, the allegory is lost. The political issues are only superficially explored and explained. The film does spend what feels like a considerable amount of time on Férula and Clara's homoerotic relationship, which I think deserves attention, but it felt exploitative and directed for the male gaze.

The film seems completely unsure how to handle the magic realism of the source material. The novel is colorful and grand: Rosa's hair is green, Clara attracts a slew of interesting characters, the settings are often over the top and strange. The film chooses to dilute those elements perhaps as a way of grounding the magic realism, but the overall effect is a bland film.

After watching the movie, I have a good idea of what I'd like to see in the new series.

  1. Hire more Latinos! The film is also overwhelmingly white. The film is set in Latin America yet most of the cast is white, and the director is white as well. It's 2018, so I expect a series set in Latin America to have more Latinos.  
  2. Explore the political themes more thoroughly. Given that it's a series, I expect that it will allow for more time to adequately explore all the themes in the book which is something that I think this story deserves. 
  3. A more colorful/magical set. The novel deals with some pretty heavy topics, but that doesn't mean that the series needs to be completely drained of life to be taken seriously. 
  4. Barrabás. I can't think of a single movie or show that wasn't made better with the addition of a dog.  

No comments

Post a Comment