I had seen Knives Out before, but watching it again allowed me to notice things that I hadn’t the first time around. One thing that I especially liked that I didn’t see as much the first time around was the symbolism of the house itself. In the Knives Out review, the author highlights the fact that numerous family members had motives to kill Harlan (mostly based on financial dependence and vengeance for cutting them out of the will/inheritance). However, on top of all those motives, the house serves as both a primary motive (for the family members in terms of inheritance) as well as a character study into Harlan. It’s interesting that you were still able to learn so much about a character who only lived through the first ten minutes of the movie through context clues on top of what other information the other characters give.
I know that this was not a direct adaptation of any of Shakespeare’s plays, but I appreciated the similarities between the movie and Much Ado in terms of the “tricks”. In the beginning of the movie, it’s set up to make you believe that it would be a typical “Whodunit” storyline with a group of suspects and a detective who helps you put together the pieces and solve the crime. However, once the plot opens up and it is clear that there is foul play, it felt very similar to the tricks and deception shown in Much Ado. It may be a stretch, but that’s where my brain first went.
Overall, I thought Knives Out was really entertaining and definitely is at the top of my favorite movies list!
Knifes Out has become on my top 10 favorites movies. As a kid I was obsessed with mysteries and became fascinated by the movie and board game Clue. The complex characters, witty humor, and detailed setting is similar to Clue and adds to the dramatized storyline of Knifes Out. I loved watching the way Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) was investigating and watching his thought process while simultaneously seeing what actually occurred the night of Harlan’s death. The complexity in the story and how Marta got away the night of the death of Harlan reflected Harlan’s famous career of murder mysteries, even thought we don’t know them.
The reading on Knifes Out brought to my attention the importance of the house itself. While watching I was amazed by the house, like a clue board coming to life. It explained how the house served as “motive (for Harlan’s salivating heirs), character study (of Harlan), and text, brimming with potential clues”. The house was so important in solving the mystery and the story itself.
I loved the ending with Marta drinking tea looking down at the rest of the family. The reading noted that it was Harlan’s cheeky gift shop mug and said. “My House. My Rules. My Coffee!!” I never noticed the wording but it just adds to the killer ending.
I love a good murder mystery and Knives Out did not disappoint. Although it began somewhat typical with a murder to solve and many suspects with a motive, it took a very unexpected turn at the end. I remember being shocked after learning of Marta’s involvement and thinking, now the case is closed. But I should have known it was too early in the two hour movie for this to be the extent of the story.
Although deeply entertaining, this movie also brings to light some of the deep socioeconomic inequalities in our society. We watched the Thrombey family nearly self- destruct when they are told of the contents in Harlan’s will. The Thrombey’s viewed themselves greatly above the staff. Ransom even makes Fran call him Hugh. Additionally, the family talked about how Marta was treated so kindly but this was not true. Nobody could even name where Marta was from. Plus, the family tried to trick her, guilt her, and threaten her into giving back the inheritance. Overall, everyone in the family was pretty obnoxious and privileged.
I liked watching Marta develop during the movie and grow as a character. I thought the ending scene was perfect – Marta standing outside the beautiful Thrombey home and drinking from Harlan’s coffee mug which said “My house. My rules. My coffee.” I thought this little touch demonstrated her new confidence and power.
I loved Knives Out, because it was a twist on the classic Whodunit film. Reslisitically the mystery plotlines were not that different from your typical murder mystery, but the characterisation in the movie were so fascinating. Linda is the representation of a falsely woke and self-made person, she is mocking the American Myth of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps. In fact, many of Harlan’s family were mocking the “liberal” American who takes the “hate the sin, love the sinner” approach to anyone other than your standard white person. Their casual racism to Marta is so typical, and is glaringly obvious when you look at the family.
While the use of Harlan’s family as political commentary is interesting, I take complaint with the way that Marta was used. The movie seems to set it up that she is both the protagonist and the main character. I like the twist when the audience is confused about whether she actually is the protagonist or not, but I take issue with the way that Marta was almost used as a plot device throughout the movie. Her ability to puke when she lies is a clever misdirect, but often seems like it was the only reason that she was in the movie. It feels almost Shakespearean that there is a woman who is the main character and is a strong person, and yet she is defined by her relationship with a man. The detective even uses her ability to puke as a way to solve the case. She is certainly a relatable character, and it is easy to sympathise with her, and yet she still feels like she is a clever plot device. It is not until the end of the movie that you begin to see her personality shine. It makes the movie feel less compelling because they don’t commit to her character development until too late.
This was my first time seeing Knives Out and I really enjoyed it. It really has everything you could be looking for in a modern whodunnit. The plot was interesting and had plenty of intrigue and surprises, the cast was loaded with Hollywood superstars, and the characters were funny, interesting, and complex. It is funny but also mysterious, thrilling, and suspenseful. The star-studded cast doesn’t distract from the film, but elevates it with their masterful performances. It’s an extremely entertaining film that truly has something to offer any type of movie fan.
One thing I also liked about the movie was that it included and highlighted important themes, such as racism, immigration, classism, greed, and others. The focus on Marta, a Latina woman, brings many of these issues to light. First, the Thrombey family clearly doesn’t know where her family is from, as they continually name different South American countries when describing where she is from. There is also a constant fakeness in the way the family describes Marta to the detectives as “practically part of the family” and that they will “take care of her,” yet they don’t know where she is from or much else about her. Later in the film, Richard debates with his family about illegal immigration and how immigrants need to do it “the right way.” He then brings Marta into the conversation, in an extremely uncomfortable and cringy scene that made me want to stop the movie from sheer second-hand embarrassment, as an example of someone who does it in the “right way,” even though her mom is technically in the country illegally. And let’s not forget about the “literal nazi” and “right-wing troll” that is the 16-year-old Jacob Thrombey. These very clear examples of racism and xenophobism highlight the ways that many privileged and wealthy people in the United States try to hide these racist views and expectations by hiding them under a veil of tolerance and liberalism. But when push comes to shove, they will immediately devolve into these racist and intolerant views, as seen when the family explodes on Marta when is named the sole heir of Harlan Thrombey’s inheritance. The rest of the family immediately begins insulting her and even go as far as trying to frame her for murder to get back the inheritance. It’s a reminder and vivid example of how the privileged are often only compassionate and giving when it serves them to do so.
Overall, I really enjoyed Winterson’s adaptation of The Winter’s Tale. I think that she did a really nice job of staying true to the bones of the original play, but was able to add her own style and personality into the story. I think that the characters were well developed, and the story was much more satisfying in the sense that you had a better understanding of each character and their lives. Filling in those gaps of time from the original story adds a layer of depth to the story that you never were going to get from The Winter’s Tale.
One thing I did like specifically was how Mimi re-entered the story – in the original play I was not a fan of the statue turned back to life storyline for her. I think that her appearance at the end was a really nice way of tying the story up and reuniting herself with Perdita, even though (as some other people have said) I wish that we were able to see how their relationship progressed after that a little more.
I was excited to read this part and finish the book. I was also very curious about how Winterson would approach the whole Mimi being dead (maybe) and then being seen for the first time in 18 years as a statue thing. In class we talked about how Winterson frames the book in such a way that makes the journey more about Perdita than the play which was definitely apparent in this part as well. Between her relationship with Zel and her meeting with Leo I got a lot more from her perspective (even though it was narrated) than Leo’s which I got from reading the play. One part I was a little confused about was Leo visiting Milo’s grave and thinking a random gardener was Tony. I think it contributed to the eternal remorse and grief Leo has about what he did to his family, but it seemed a little out of the blue in the book. As for the Mimi sighting/performance at the end of the book, the metaphors and smilies of her as a statue helped me understand the ties to the play, but I was still left wondering, is she alive? is she dead? In the play too, we are left wondering how and why Paulina hid Hermoine for so many years. In the book Pauline’s explanation for this is that Leo never asked, which seems like a bit of a cop out for me. Maybe he never asked but the way he talk about her and planned his whole business venture to knock down a venue she sang at once tells me he definitely missed her and probably wondered where she was all this time. Overall, I enjoyed the book and Winterson’s creative additions, deletions and emphasis of important plot points from the original play.
I thought the last part of the book was going to resemble the original play a little more since Wintersoon was pretty spot on for the duration of the book. That being said, it makes sense that the last part would be the most different because that’s when you see the purpose of and motivation behind the author’s adaptation. I was wondering why the major focus was not on the impending wedding, but Perdita finding out that Shep was not her real father. I did some research and found out that Winterson herself was given away as a child. This truth adds a personality to the book that I was not fully aware of when I was reading it. It made it feel more original as if The Winter’s Tale was just a sounding board for The Gap of Time. Adaptations are special in this way because they prove that stories do not really belong to any specific person and mean different things to their audiences.
I also thought that Winterson’s use of Time was so moving. It was clear how Time affected the characters – making them feel as if they were restricted by it, incriminated by it, lost or found by it. I did not feel this connection to Time as much in The Winter’s Tale which I think is another special contribution Winterson made to the original play through her writing of The Gap of Time.
After finishing reading The Gap of Time, I felt pleased with the entire novel. I think this novel was very modern and witty. As with any adaptation, there was the excitement of change while also the comfort of similarity. I loved reading how the characters adapted from the Winter’s Tale to create characters that were much more modern and relatable. One line in Part 3 made me laugh when Zel said to Perdita, “I thought girls want boys who can commit” (p.236)? There are so many of these comical and witty lines throughout the novel, many of which I enjoyed.
I appreciated the changes that were made to the end of the Winter’s Tale. I liked reading in The Gap of Time how Perdita and her girl group, the separations, were playing at the concert and then a woman standing like a statue says, “this song is for my daughter. It’s called Perdita.” I think the choice to have MiMi reappear this way is much more powerful and demonstrates a connection between MiMi and Perdita that was never lost. Although time had passed, they were still connected.
With that being said, I did think this reunion was too short and I found myself wanted to read more about what happened with the characters, specifically with MiMi and Perdita’s relationship.
After reading part 2, I was interested to see how Winterson was going to write the final reunion scene in part 3. In the original, the reunion scene is really a product of Perdita and Florizell running away from the incensed Polixenes after he forbids their marriage, but in Winterson’s version, the marriage storyline isn’t really included. While Perdita and Zel begin to date and there are mentions of marriage between the two that harken back to the original (“We’ll go back home, we’ll make a life, and we’ll show our own kids how to be brave and true,” pg. 235), this updated version is actually focused on the reunification of Perdita and her birth parents. I thought that having Perdita and Zel hastily fly to London, having Perdita hideout in the Sicilia Inc. lobby, and the sudden lightbulb moment that Leo goes through when he realizes that Perdita’s name is actually Perdita and not Miranda, was straight from a cheesy movie. It was still interesting and written in a stylistically interesting way just as the rest of the novel was, yet I felt somewhat underwhelmed by part 3 overall. The rest of the novel was delightfully surprising and had really interesting changes from the original that it made the ending just seem a little bland. I couldn’t get over feeling like “I’ve seen this before” which isn’t really how you want the ending of a novel to strike you. In Winterson’s defense, she was doing a cover of Shakespeare, so her options were limited, but I suppose I was expecting to be wowed yet again by another surprising turn of events.
One of the things I did like though was that Mimi didn’t become a weird statue brought back to life. Her recluse lifestyle I thought made a lot of sense and her brief surprise appearance at the end of the novel to sing at the event was a touching way to reunify Mimi and Perdita and end the book. The lookback scene at how Milo was killed running through the airport was also really well done. It was incredibly sad and it just made me think about how a spiraling Leo would have reacted knowing that his actions directly put Milo in harm’s way. I thought it was an incredibly moving and well-written scene. I also enjoyed how Shep’s character became a more focal role in the ending and continued to be Perdita’s “father” instead of just disappearing with new social status and wealth like in the original. I thought that made a little more sense in the modern context of the novel and was just an overall feel-good moment for me. Overall, I really enjoyed the novel and I am probably not giving the ending enough credit, but I was so blown away by the early parts of the book that I was expecting some huge ending. My fault for setting my expectations too high.