When reviewing an adaptation, is it fair to criticize the plot? Check out the latest Ask the Critic question and post your own
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Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, ...

When reviewing an adaptation, is it fair to criticize the plot?

When reviewing an adaptation, is it fair game to criticize the plot or characterizations if they’re faithful to the original book, play, etc.? — Jamie
Of course it is. Just because a movie has been adapted from a novel or a stage play, no matter how acclaimed, doesn’t mean the original was worthy — or that a critic should be required to say so. Yet such are the ways of pop culture that written works of notable prestige are often perceived to be of a rarefied, even unassailable, pedigree. A current example of this phenomenon is the film version of Proof, which any number of reviewers found fault with by saying that it lacked the dramatic mystique of David Auburn’s play. But too much mystique was the play’s chief problem. On stage, Proof gave off the aura of a masterpiece, but many of the flaws critics found in the film — the fuzzy abstractness of all the math babble, the general thesis-play flatness of the experience — should have been traced right back to the source.

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