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I give this movie a 5 star rating but with reservations. If you have read the book you will understand why, as the book is 1000 times better! I felt the relationship between the 2 boys was given short shrift. The book spends a great deal of time exploring this relationship long before they start the kite race. The movie starts with the race and so you don't have an understanding of why Hassan is protective of Amir and why Amir doesn't consider Hassan his friend, though he truly is. The ending also shortens what has occurred between Amir and Sobrab, and that is also a shame. I suspect that the film makers probably left out what Sobrab did for a good reason but it also lessens why he acts the way he does when taken to America. It is a fine piece of film making though with great performances by the actors and the horrors of the Russian regime and Taliban are not glossed over.
As a teacher of ELLs, I especially enjoyed this movie version of the great book, THE KITE RUNNER. Both movie and novel were great additions to my classroom collection, as the movie closely follows the story line. So, read/listen to the book AND watch the film. My Intermediate level high school English Language Learners could handle both the literature and video content, as it matched their English language ability and maturity levels. Refugees from the Middle East appreciated it due to the use of their native languages in parts of the film (shown with English subtitles for the whole class to read.). SPOILER ALERT: I recommend teachers preview this, as one violent bullying scene may not be suitable for some students.
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2017
Perhaps if I had not read the book first I might have liked this movie better, but compared to the book the movie is like watch CliffsNotes. They simply tried to summarize the book. There are tons of scenes that come from the book but with out the substance to tie the scenes together into a complete story. There's much more richness in the book. I don't hardly see any of that in the movie. Had the book not been so good I don't think this movie would have gotten any traction at all.
I normally don't review movies, but seeing as how I just finished reading the book, figured it's worth comparing the two.
If I were to judge this as a standalone movie, then it would probably get 4.5, or even 5 stars. The visuals are breathtaking, the music/sound design are moving, and of course, it is a heartwarming story.
As others have said, the book goes much deeper. This isn't a criticism of the movie though, as a full-length novel can carry a lot more events, interactions, and inner thoughts than a standard 2-hour movie. There are definitely some moments in the book that aren't in the movie, and the characters aren't as fleshed out, but I felt that for the most part, they focused on the right elements.
Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2016
The best book I've ever read! Cried at the end grieved having lost the characters when I was through.I NEVER reread books even after years and years.I seriously thought of rereading this when I was done.I have two more books of his to read but, I'm not ready yet.I also got the movie of the kite runner but I'm afraid they will ruin the book as often happens so I am waiting.the reviews of the movie say it is better than the book.I find that impossible to believe I love this book so much! Please read it its wonderful
I read the novel first and I couldn't put it down. Emotional, informative and interesting from beginning to end. I laughed, cried, talked out loud to myself, gave it to family members to read, and recommended it to others. Then I rented the DVD which I found tame in comparison. If you are not going to read the novel then I highly recommend the DVD because of it's superb acting, authentic scenes and an understanding of the cruelty of the Taliban in war-torn Afganistan,the class system that is ingrained into the culture causing conflict between childhood friends, loyalty, courage, and adult redemption. The ending is the most powerful of the entire story. Khaled Hosseini is a gifted writer whose other book "A Thousand Splendid Suns" is also amazing. I would read anything he writes in the future because of his tremendous insite into the human spirit,positive, negative, male or female.
I don't think that this film needs any more praise, but I think I have a couple things I can add to what has already been written. I didn't know people were still allowed to tell stories like this. Rich, complex, completely rooted in history and experience yet personal, and a completely human and fully participatory protagonist. Add to that a plot twist followed by a good old fashioned surprise ending and epilogue (counterbalanced by a prologue) and you've got a tale of the satisfying, old fashioned kind. In this case, there's also a strong screen play, with six critical events in the story happening, like clockwork, every 20 minutes. It's the sort of attention to pacing that makes the great Persian Epic of the Kings (Shahnamah) that they boys read from in the movie work, and it makes modern story telling work as well. So, enough with the 'it's not like the book' and 'it's in a foreign language.' It isn't a book; it's is a great film story, told simply, straighforwardly. And criticizing a movie for being in a foreign language, or in black and white, or filmed on a set instead of on location is like criticizing a book for being divided into chapters or printed in sans serif type on white paper--it's the way the creative artists in question have chosen to tell the tale. Judge it on its own merits. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief (or incomprenhension) any day for the pleasure of a good story, and this is definitely one of those.
1.0 out of 5 starsHopeless. Can’t get it in English. Very disappointing!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 6, 2020
This dvd will not play in English although it says it should. It only plays in Arabic. Please could you advise me how to return this to you and get one in English. The English subtitles do not show on my tv. No stars for this reason. Sorry it made me put one star but I don’t think it should have any. I can’t watch it like this!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 15, 2009
`The Kite Runner' is a moving film of two halves. The first half follows two boys (Amir and Hassan) who grew up in Kabul and the betrayal of one against the other, not because he is inherently bad but because he is cowardly and then ashamed of his fear. It then looks at what happens in the intervening years and concludes with how one manages to redeem himself and bring some peace to himself and his family. It is beautifully directed and the acting is very accomplished from all involved. Some scenes in modern Afghanistan are quite upsetting and at other times I found myself getting choked up at the events and emotions being portrayed on screen. This is needless to say a very rich and stirring film. Having not read the book I came to this with no preconceptions and I have to say it exceeded my expectations. It managed to keep me engrossed for the two hours running time and also made me emotionally engage with the story way more than I anticipated. This isn't a light and breezy film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is extremely well made and full of impact. Well worth a look at some point.
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4.0 out of 5 starsOkay but disappointed. Watch before reading.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 21, 2009
This is a good film to watch, but best to watch the film before reading the book, therefore I give the film a 3-4/5.
I know that all that happens in a book can not be transferred to film, but watching the film after reading the book for me was a little disappointing. The film moves along very quickly and jumps large areas of the book, in my opinion quite a few crucial conversations and events were left out.
My other half who has not yet read the book enjoyed the film as he had no idea of the story. Well worth watching, but also buy the book and read after watching the film.
The film has subtitles during the time spent in Afghanistan, these are very easy to read (large print), but I did find it a little distracting as the text moves so quickly that you do not have time to see what is happening whilst trying to follow the subtitles. I like to study surroundings and the actor's expressions, which is hard to do when reading the quick text.
I loved this film, I read the book and I read the authors other book too. The book obviously adds more weight to the story, puts a bit more meat on the bones. The film obviously has to condense the story down. If you see the film after the book, you might be a little disappointed due to chunks being missed out or not explained fully but the film was wonderfully performed with great acting from the young Amir to the adult and you are able to follow the film through the subtitles without any thought. I thought the actually kite running scene a bit too over dramatised for my liking. It was obviously CGI effects & to me was a distraction to the story. I watched the film after I read the book and much preferred the book, but appreciated the beauty of the film which was well made. The film was on BBC 2 at the beg of the year but I missed most of it hence I got the dvd & was well worth the effort.
I enjoyed the book a lot and thoroughly recommend Hosseini`s follow up `A thousand splendid suns` Actually the film did great justice to the book. Although, admittedly, I read the book a couple of years ago so I may be alittle hazy, the film `reads` just as I remember the book and the characters and the settings and the pace of the plot remain fairly true to the original `script` Indeed,from memory, one small advantage the film has over the book is that, in the book, the `action` takes place (not wishing to spoil the plot for anyone here) 85% into the book and the last 10-15% is somewhat of an anti-climax. Readers of the book will understand what I mean. The film manages to reduce this interesting but rather flat ending to only 10 minutes or so and thus produces a more compact/ satisying feel to the film. Definitely worth seeing and I would certainly look forward to a film production of `a thousand splendid suns`.
5.0 out of 5 starsA film that keeps true to the book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 22, 2014
What a fantastic film, heart warming at times, heart wrenching at others. The beauty of questionable friendship and the road it takes to realise what you had, lost and need to regain. Having read the book first, this film has achieved a rare thing, in that it keeps to the essence of book, bring back and invoking those memories of the senses when reading.
There are plenty of detailed reviews so I will only say that this is one of the few films that I felt actually lives up to the book. No film can ever be anywhere near as good as the book it is taken from as so many details have to be left out but once you accept that then you can relax and enjoy. This one kept me riveted to the end. My mother, who watched the film, without having read the book, was also glued to the TV. Not for the younger viewers despite the 12 rating as it is quite harrowing at times.
Having read the book I wanted to see how true the video was to the storyline. It was a great watch but spoilt slightly by fact had already read the book so knew what was coming next. I believe the video has stayed pretty true to the storyline in the book. Such a moving story and quite heart wrenching at times.
I've read the books, bought the music, seen the film and now the DVD and can recommend this as much as the rest. The books have been in the bestsellers list for ages now and thoroughly deserve to be so. The film is an accurate representation of the wonderful story. I loved the scenery in the film and the child actors are excellent. It is a welcome change from the usual USA blockbuster nonsense filling our screen. It's an honest, sincere story of love and friendship. I cannot fault it
Its easy to view countries like Afghanistan with blinkers on, only seeing what is shown on the t.v. This film shows the country and the people before and during the occupations. I certainly will look at this region differently now, and of course the people who have been affected. I would read the book as well as viewing the film, some bits are left out of the film as it usually happens, the book fills in a few gaps.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 17, 2010
having read the book I was dubious about the film but I was pleasantly surprised as the film was true to the story and well done. The pride of the Afghan people and the cruelty of the Taliban were really well played. I thought the child actors were particularly good. The screen play was well written as it told the story and whilst perhaps not capturing all the horror of the book it kept the action moving to fit into the two hour 'comfort' film time.
5.0 out of 5 starsA Revealing Insight to a world we don't want
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 14, 2015
A glimpse of the issues these folk face.....extremely well made film, implausible "happy" ending but better than what would have probably happened in real life......sub titles work atmospherically well, brave to have gone that way - it most likely influenced its box office appeal though....