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on October 13, 2014
THIS IS AN UPDATE AFTER READING THE BOOK
It was not until I read the reviews on Amazon Instant Prime for the movie, that I realized that there was a book the movie was taken from. I immediately wanted to read it, because the movie left me with so many questions that were unanswered. Before, I delve into the differences of the stories, let me begin by stating that for some reason the people who made the movie changed some of the characters names in the movie. Considering the book was fictional it is not as if they are protecting the fictionally innocent. For this review, when I will be talking about the movie I will put the book's name for the character in Parenthesis and vice versa.
The movie does not begin to scratch the surface of how Attorney Frank Galvin is such a complex character. It is never mentioned in the movie that Galvin was in World War II and how he returned home unemployed with nowhere to turn. The movie fails to talk about how at ten years old Galvin watched his father slowly drink himself to death at thirty six years old. The movie also does not touch upon the relationship between Galvin and Morrissey (Moe Katz). In the book Katz (Morrissey) met Galvin on the street and saw that he needed help. Katz (Morrissey) paid Galvin to run his errands in his law firm, he also ended up paying for a Galvin to go to law school as well, but this is never mentioned in the movie. In the movie Galvin is divorced, however; in the book Galvin is not only still married with children that he never sees, but he is openly flaunting his affair with Lois Chen, a Chinese lady whose father own the biggest restaurant in the city. In fact, this is why the other lawyers are trying to disbar him, unlike in the movie where it is explained that Galvin was tried for tampering with the jury, because he was about to turn in his firm because they were taking bribes. According to the book, Galvin is still under investigation, while in the movie the investigation while it ruined, it was over. So, in the book Galvin had a wife, a mistress, and was having an affair with Laura Fisher (Donna St. Laurent).
In the book, it is Deborah Ruth Rosen, the patient, (Deborah Ann Kay) brother who is bringing the suit, but in the movie they make it the sister. The movie, does not mention her husband, but the book talks about how he never visits Deborah and in fact he has remarried. The book also talk about how the husband is not caring for the children, but instead they are bounced around between different relatives almost every three months. Galvin, in the book also goes to go visit them.
The movie very much confused me, when it came to Laura Fisher (Donna St, Laurent), because she went into the bar and waited for him to approach her in the movie. What if she was not his type? What would she have done? In the book, she made the first move. As a matter of fact, unlike in the movie, Concannon did not send her to meet Galvin. In the book, she did not work for Concannon, she actually worked for the Church. According to the book, St. Laurent (Fisher) was also fantasizing about sleeping with Concannon, but he coldly turned her down. At the end of the book, she actually leaves Concannon on his own as far as the case goes. Yes, as in the movie St. Laurent (Fisher) did sleep with Galvin in order to get information for the case. And while she is working for the church, Concannon is the attorney for the church, so he does get some information about Galvin's strategy, but he does not get much as Galvin quickly finds out what St. Laurent (Fisher) is up to. Galvin, does not have to tell her, she can tell by the tone in his voice that he knows what she is up to. She quickly tells him to stop acting like a child and that they are both more concerned with the case then with another. They agree to meet at a hotel to discuss the case, however; unlike in the movie Galvin does not have to punch St. Laurent (Fisher), instead he stands her up, leaving her to wait in the hotel all night for him, which is even better. I still do not understand why in the movie, Galvin had to punch Fisher (St. Laurent), it just seems like useless violence against a woman that proves nothing. In fact, after that scene I had no respect for Galvin after that. In the book, Galvin did not even have to raise his voice let alone his fist.
The witnesses in the book were also quite different, for beginners, in the book there was no Dr. Gruber, there was only the Black doctor, Dr. Thompson. Like in the movie, Maureen Rooney (Mary Rooney) one of the nurses in the delivery room refused to testify, however, in the book she gave them the name of the admitting nurse Natalie Campinelli-Stampanatto (Kaitlin Castello-Price), but in the movie Galvin went to the chapel and fooled her into saying where the nurse was. In the book, the admitting nurse was eager to testify, while in the book Galvin had to coax her to. In the book, it is Katz (Morrissey) who actually goes and visits the nurses and not Galvin. While Judge in the book also seemed to favor the defendant it was not to the extent that the movie made it out to be. In fact, in the book, when the former admitting nurse testifies about having a copy of the original admittance sheet the judge's attitude seemed to change a bit, seeming to be more sympathetic toward Galvin. Unlike, in the movie Sweeney did not overrule the copy of the admittance sheet nor did he strike any of the nurse's testimony. The judge also allowed for the most part Galvin to question his witnesses. He did stop Galvin after a while, but it was not as soon as he started it was later on in the questioning.
The movie only shows Galvin as a fumbling drunk, however, this is quite the contrary in the book. In the book, Galvin, while he still drinks heavily, was not incompetent in the courtroom, his opening statement was great and even took Concannon by surprise, angering him. The way the book describes Concannon, I would think he had Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD), because he compares everything to his days in the war and everyone who is not with him is the enemy. The book ended with Galvin visiting his mentor in the hospital after his second stroke in the book. However, the movie ended with Fisher (St. Laurent) trying to contact Galvin, but in the book, there was no doubt that the two were never going to get back together. Galvin was back with his mistress.
There were of course some similarities between the film and the book besides what the lawsuit was about, but those times in the movie it was as if the writer and director (probably two separate people) just lifted whole passages out of the book. I feel the movie either veered so far from the book or just stole from it. While, I feel the acting is quite, I do not like the setup of the movie. I strongly feel that more about Galvin's background and his relationship with his mentor should have been in the movie. If they felt making Galvin's character divorced when he began seeing Fisher (St. Laurent) would make his character more sympathetic, they lost me when he punched a lady. Overall, the movie was not bad, but in some ways it is so far from the movie, that it is laughable. I think it should be remade.