Books made into movies are always some of hardest ordeals in the film industry and it is not very hard to explain why–after all, we are talking about the capacity of turning hundreds of pages into two or three hours film, trying to capture the story’s themes and making it attractive to a wide audience with a wide variety of preferences. It is very difficult, but in the case of Julie Bell’s Kelpler’s Dream novel, we can say that its movie adaption does a fairly good job, despite having some obvious flaws.
Directed by the very talented Amy Glazer, the movie follows the story of Ella (Isabella Blake-Thomas) who finds a book that belonged to her grandmother, explaining the reasons behind her family’s fracture–a lot of events start happening based from that.
Kepler’s Dream is a very straightforward story in both the book and the movie, but one of the key flaws in the film adaption is the fact that it is so short that it makes it hard for the audience to fall in love with the characters, their goals, and their own development–this has been a common flaw in most recent movies, if we are truly honest. Character development, especially in a movie format, takes time and you have to give the actors some space in order for them to blossom in their roles.
Which is a shame, really, because the cast is excellent, having a very talented Isabella Blake-Thomas in the lead role, accompanied by the likes of Sean Patrick Flanery, Holland Taylor, Kelly Lynch, Steven Michael Quezada or Esperanza Fermin. A very good list of actors who all do fairly well on this stage, but didn’t get enough time to raise their levels in this movie in particular. I would have to say that Holland Taylor had a pretty good performance as the grandmother and was the best of the lot.
Also, the setting is one of the strongest aspects in the movie and the sheer quality of the imagery would leave you in awe in some points, which is an aspect I always value in a film and not every director seems to take into consideration. Coupled with a very strong set of characters, you feel as if Kepler’s Dream was very close to being a successful film and you can consider it as such, at some degree; I haven’t read the novel and I had a good time watching the thing.
BUT, you do have the perception that the film could have been better and that there were some aspects worth reconsidering. Adapting books into films is always hard, but in the case of Julie Bell’s novel, you do have the feeling they fell short of the expectations and the hype.
At the end of the day, Kepler’s Dream is a good movie, but not a great one and not even close to an excellent one. It has a strong cast of characters and a great setting, but a lack of time on the screen did not do any good to Amy Glazer’s movie.
Movie Rating: 3 stars.
Movie Ratings Guide
1 Star = Unwatchable
2 Stars = Cannot Recommend
3 Stars = Great for the Fans
4 Stars = A Solid Movie
5 Stars = Must Own (DVD/Stream Download)