Books & Reading

 

I usually recommend reading a book before seeing the movie version. However, I am re-thinking my position after watching Ron Howard’s film, In the Heart of the Sea. I’d just finished the book by Nathaniel Philbrick and loved it—about the ramming and sinking of the whaleship Essex by an enraged sperm whale in 1820, the inspiration for Melville’s Moby Dick. I was eager to see what Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13) would do with it.

The film was certainly spectacular, with gee-whiz special effects and a taut tension running throughout, but I realized that I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t read the book first. I was continually distracted by the film's departure from historical accuracy. “That’s not right,” I would find myself thinking. “It didn’t happen like that.” “They made that part up.”

To make matters worse, there were all these rude people sitting around me in the theater, going, “Sh!-Sh!-Sh!”