You’re Welcome

03 Mar

Trust me, you’ll soon be thanking me, because I’m here to spare you the two hours and sixteen minutes of torture that my husband and I just endured.

You see, we just watched the Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter.

Not since the movie version of The Pilgrim’s Progress has there been such literary abuse on the small screen.  Oh wait.  I forgot about Gulliver’s Travels with Jack Black.

Jerry first identified potential problems with the film when he spotted in large letters across the library’s DVD case:

We’ve both read the book.  This was not an adjective we would have used to describe Hawthorne’s tale.  Nor was this:

The second clue came from the byline immediately following the title shot.  It read, “Freely Adapted from the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne.”

Note for future reference:  Freely Adapted = Shares the Same Title.

The third encounter was an indication that the writing, not only the storyline would prove worse than mediocre.  Hester greets her new Puritan friends with a quote from scipture, “As it says in Psalms 92 . . .”

Psalms?  Yes, we went back and listened again.  She said “Psalms 92.”

Okay, fine, we can forgive one Biblically ignorant writer, but then there was this carefully crafted doozy spoken by Dimmesdale, “I would risk everything . . . to spend a few moments alone with you . . . Hester, I love thee.”

Yes, he used you, and thee in back to back sentences.  It happened again in later scenes.

The entire first half of the movie is really a prequel to The Scarlet Letter.  It begins with Hester arriving on her own in the New World, quickly moves to her first glimpses of Arthur – skinny dipping in the local stream, fully nude from all angles, introduces Mrs. Hibbins and her lot of rebellious young women, and then speeds the lovers into each others arms with notice of Roger Prynne’s death.

Did you miss that in the book?  They had “proof” that she was a widow, but due to Puritan laws she would still be unable to remarry for seven years.  But the “proof” was all they needed to free their consciouses and land them horizontal in the piles of grain out in the barn.

Yes, they had to hide in the barn because Hester’s slave was in the house, having her own “special moment” in the bathtub with a bright red bird acting as voyeur.  I know, there’s so much in that sentence to make you shake your head in disbelief, let’s concentrate on the slave.

Hester bought a mute slave, pretty handy, eh?  Her name is Mituba.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  You’re probably thinking of Tituba, the slave from the Salem witch trial.  Because at about the half-way point in this film it switches from being “freely adapted from The Scarlet Letter” to being “freely adapted from The Crucible.”

After the prequel portion of the movie is finished, and it seems doubtful that Hester and Arthur have the opportunity for showing a lot more flesh, the directors switch the focus to violence and accuse Mrs. Hibbins and her lot of being witches, and stage an uprising against the Indians.

Oh don’t worry, there is a little more flesh.  Actually, it’s Moore flesh.  She’s known for showing off her naked pregnant stomach, and this movie is no exception.  I wonder if she had a stunt belly.

I’ll spare you the rest, but since the directors have already spoiled everything about the film, I might as well spoil the ending.  It is most shocking.

It ends happily ever after.  Hester and Arthur ride off into the sunset, Pearl at their side.  The Scarlet A flicked carelessly into the mud.

Awwwww, isn’t that sweet?  *puke*

But what could we expect?  For there could be no other ending based on the most offensive element of the movie – the part I’ve saved for last.  The worst, and let’s remember things have been pretty bad, but they worst part of the film is that Arthur and Hester do not feel that their adultery was, well, adultery.  It was love.

Did you catch that?  Let me rephrase, they feel they didn’t sin, but acted in the way in God’s design.

Horrible.  It’s a must not watch.


Posted by on March 3, 2012 in The Scarlet Letter


Tags: , , , , ,

8 responses to “You’re Welcome

  1. Jillian ♣

    March 3, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Ha! Just added to Netflix because I want to see it for myself. 😀

    My senior high school AP Lit teacher had us watch this very movie instead of reading the book. I have no idea why. All I remember is that everyone started roaring when Hester “took down her hair.”

    • Christina Joy

      March 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Enjoy! Or at least have a hearty laugh or two. 🙂

  2. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    March 3, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Thanks for sparing me the anguish.

    Here’s what Cliff’s Notes says about the film versions of the Scarlet Letter:,pageNum-101.html

    My local library has the 1979 PBS version, so I think I’m going with that.

    • Christina Joy

      March 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      “alternate-reality view” *snort*

      In the mean time, I’ll have to check out the PBS version.

  3. Jeannette

    March 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Wow! I saw this a long time ago and vaguely remembered that it was bad, but thank you so much for bringing it all back. I’ll not be watching it again.

  4. norma carey

    March 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Jerry gave me a brief review in the library the other day as I too put the movie on my netflix request. I was imagining how they might do Hester’s “letting her hair down scene!”
    “By another impulse she took off the formal cap that confined her hair; and down it fell upon her shoulders…” When I read that I immediately thought even Hawthorne described “sexual freedom” as letting one’s hair down. How many books and movies have used this “symbol” for women’s freedom from inhibition – and by the way, for a male author, he captured this woman beautifully.
    Take that Nancy Pulosi! (or however she spells her name)

  5. sheila simpson

    February 20, 2016 at 3:34 am

    it was entertaining, never said to be exactly like the book, to a tee. mituba;s acting was done, perfectly, MY DAUGHTER< Lisa Jollif Andoh, so I may be a little biased. lol



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