After reading The Talented Mr. Ripley I just had to watch the 1999 movie adaption, starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwynth Paltrow. What did I think of the movie? I will let the Minions speak for me:
My first issue with the movie is, that they changed the personalities of almost all the main characters, thus changing the story in itself. In the book you could somehow relate to the madness of Tom Ripley, you could understand how he became so obsessed with Dickie. The movie totally lacks this developement and I will try to sum up my feelings toward Ripley throughout the movie:
In the movie Ripley is just that insane crazy guy right from the start, with no background story whatsoever. He isn´t a likeable guy. Then we are meeting Dickie, Marge and Freddie and especially Dickie and Freddie aren´t acting very nice towards Ripley, meaning they are total jerks. You could feel pity for Tom, but I´m still not liking him. Then Tom is doing the bad and awful thing and he turns into that insanely stupid guy, which almost get caught at every corner, because he makes one stupid decision after another. I´m certainly not liking him now. In the end, Tom has to learn the hard way, that Karma is a bitch. The ending is utterly brilliant and I do think the filmmakers intention was, that I should feel sympathie for Ripley, but I´m still hating his guts.
By the way: Tom wasn´t the only character I didn´t like. Basically all the characters were annoying and obnoxious as opposed to the characters in the books, which I pretty much liked or at least I didn´t hate.
The book just deals with its topics in a very subtle way and none of this subtlety has it made into the movie. The filmmakers put their emphasis for example on the fact, that Tom Ripley probably is a homosexual. Ripley being a homosexual has never been confirmed throughout the book and I haven´t made up my mind yet, if he is homosexual or not. How can Ripley then be depicted as an obvious homosexual character in the movie?
I have to admit, the movie is not all that bad. The music and the cinematography are gorgoues, the actors are stellar in their perfomances and the ending is just breathtakingly awesome. But the book is just so, so much better than the movie adaption.