Every team behind a book-to-film adaptation has hard choices to make. But one of the trickiest is taking a book that’s very much embedded in a character’s head and putting those moments on screen in an interesting way. Voice-overs can only go so far in conveying the way authors capture specific thought patterns.
That’s the cchallenge in adapting a book like Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s YA queer coming-of-age novel, which soars on the page because of the main character’s internal monologue.
The film adaptation from Hara Kiri director and writer Aitch Alberto stumbles a bit in conveying the book’s adolescent angst and poignant longing, often feeling like a collection of snapshots instead of one cohesive movie. Nevertheless, the lead actors carry the film, and the individual scenes are strong, though it never quite captures the deep longing that is threaded throughout the original.