Monday, April 19, 2021

The Book vs The Movie - Mrs. Miniver

Goodreads:  Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther (1939) - The 1942 film entitled Mrs. Miniver is easily in my top 5 favorite movies.  It makes me laugh, cry, and covet a particularly gorgeous Wedgwood coffee pot that appears fairly early in the film and I CANNOT find no matter how hard I look (but that's another story).  The movie is wonderful and is essentially a series of vignettes about a very ordinary, very nice upper middle class family in 1940s England and living under extraordinary circumstances.  There are so many small moments that stick with me and these are characters I really love. So when I saw in the credits during the 2nd or 3rd time I watched it that the movie was based on a book I knew I had to have it.  And it wasn't quite what I expected.

Book adaptations are a tricky subject.  There are some that are done well, some that are passable, but most seem to fall in the category that has me pausing the movie frequently and venting to my husband that "that was NOT how that happened."  In this case I think it was done rather brilliantly and unexpectedly.  The setup is essentially the same.  The Miniver family is a very nice upper middle class family consisting of Kay and Clem and their children Vin, Judy, and Toby.  Each chapter is a vignette and is essentially told through a peek of what is going on Mrs. Miniver's brain.  The primarily difference is the book takes place shortly before the war begins whereas in the movie the war is full and truly on.  So essentially the movie is a sequel to the book and a well done one at that.  

The book is quieter then the movie.  The moments less monumental but no less delightful.  Chapters range from the trickiness of choosing a date book, to the issues of finding people one actually likes to invite to dinner, to Mrs. Miniver facing her fear of flying and all kinds of other everyday moments.  There are more war centered moments towards the end but even those are on the quieter poignant side such as watching her children's faces as they are fitted for gas masks.  I truly enjoyed my time with Mrs. Miniver.  She is funny, insightful, nice, and her mind wanders just the way mine does.   This was a book I relished and read a couple of chapters at a time curled up in my reading chair at night when the house was quiet.  The writing was gorgeous and while I'm not one who really ever notices quotes this is one I wanted to take notes on.  I will be seeking more books out from this author and I want to watch the movie again.

This is one of the very few books vs movies where I feel like the book enhanced the movie and vice versa.  


  1. Oh my, I haven't seen this movie in ages. It needs to go on my rewatch list. Right now we are working through the series Justified. On the last season now!

  2. Great when a movie works that is taken from a book. Oh I am with you on that wedgewood pot you covet, if I saw it too I bet I would as ell.

  3. I didn't realize there was a book, either. Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to add it to Goodreads. 🙌🙌🙌

  4. I haven't seen the movie or read the book. I like that the events in the movie occur after those in the book though. This sounds really good!

  5. I haven't seen the movie or read the book, but they both sound really nice. I think right now it's nice to read/watch something quiet and enjoyable with views of someone's family life.