Cat Person Film Adaptation: Staying Faithful but Missing the Mark

The film adaptation of Cat Person closely follows the original story but lacks subtlety and overexplains its ideas, hindering its impact. Despite strong performances, the film fails to capture the nuance and ambiguity that made the short story compelling.

Exploring the Film Adaptation of Cat Person

The film adaptation of Cat Person closely follows the original story written by Kristen Roupenian, capturing the unsettling dynamics of modern dating and the blurred lines of consent. However, while the film stays faithful to the source material, it falls short in its execution, lacking the subtlety and impact that made the short story resonate with readers.

Cat Person Film Adaptation: Staying Faithful but Missing the Mark - -196577348

( Credit to: Vulture )

Written during the height of the Me Too movement, Cat Person gained viral attention on the internet for its exploration of uncomfortable sexual encounters and the complexities of relationships. The film recreates key scenes from the story, including the cringe-inducing encounter between Margot and Robert. However, it amplifies the discomfort by visually depicting these moments, such as the awkward and unpleasant kiss shared between the characters.

Cat Person Film Adaptation: Staying Faithful but Missing the Mark - -874693019

( Credit to: Vulture )

New Additions and Horror Elements

While the film closely follows the narrative of the short story, it introduces additional characters and padding to fill its two-hour runtime. Margot’s anthropology professor and feminist roommate serve as new additions, providing metaphorical commentary on the mating rituals of ants and cautioning Margot against pursuing a relationship with Robert.

The tone of the film leans heavily into horror, with every text message from Robert being accompanied by an alarming sound and ominous symbols like a human skeleton foreshadowing danger. This shift in tone adds a layer of tension and unease to the story, enhancing the horror elements.

Exploring Complexities and Overexplanation

Similar to Roupenian’s original work, the film avoids portraying either Margot or Robert as clear villains. However, it tends to overexplain and explicitly convey its ideas, detracting from the impact of certain scenes. The inclusion of fantasy sequences that reveal Margot’s imagination can feel gimmicky at times, although her internal debate during a sexual encounter effectively captures the discomfort and confusion that can arise in such situations.

Michelle Ashford, the writer of the film adaptation, injects pop culture references and humor into the story, providing some relief from its dark themes. Robert’s Star Wars obsession and his belief in giving women ‘what they really want’ add layers to his character. However, the film often feels the need to explain these observations explicitly, diminishing their impact.

Strong Performances and Extension Beyond the Ending

The strongest aspect of the film lies in the performances of Emilia Jones as Margot and Nicholas Braun as Robert. Their chemistry, or lack thereof, effectively portrays the awkwardness and tension between their characters. Braun adds a hint of sinister undertones to Robert, distinguishing him from his previous role in Succession, while Jones brings depth to Margot’s passive nature without making her dull. Jones even bears a resemblance to Carrie Fisher, adding an intriguing layer to her character.

Where the film falls short is in its extension beyond the original short story’s ending. While the story concludes with a revealing text exchange that exposes Robert’s true nature, the film continues beyond that point. Unfortunately, this extension feels unnecessary and fails to capture the same ambiguity and uncertainty that made the short story impactful. The film attempts to explore the complexities of sex and romance but ultimately struggles to embrace its own uncertainty.

Conclusion: Faithful Yet Missed Opportunities

In conclusion, the film adaptation of Cat Person stays faithful to the original story but misses the mark in its execution. While it effectively portrays the uncomfortable dynamics of modern dating, it overexplains and lacks the subtlety that made the short story resonate with readers. Despite strong performances, the film’s padding and tendency to spell out its ideas hinder its impact. Ultimately, it fails to capture the same nuance and ambiguity that made the original story so compelling.

What do you think?

Written by Reddit Manga

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