How does the movie version differ from the chapter “The Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong” in The Things They Carried?
In what ways does the movie version do a good job of bringing O’Brien’s chapter to life?
The movie brings a fresh perspective to the whole story. The aspect of dramatization offers life to all these words, which the author aims to shine the light on. The veterans and their plight is highlighted in the real world, which is something new for people who have never gone to war. This is excellent as people do not understand what it means to serve a country, its impact on families, and how it is hard for the veterans to adapt to the real world when the guns stop blowing.
Is there any aspect of the chapter in the book that you think is missing in the movie?
To bring life to the movie, there are some aspects that have been omitted, and this has been done intentionally to shorten the whole story. For example, I believe the author did an excellent job explaining the romance between Mark Fossie and Marry Anne Bell. Especially when explaining their struggles in the camp, and they had to make the hard questions. This is from their decision to risk it all in the war to when they decide to officially engage.
Are there scenes that are added in the movie? Why do you think these changes were made? What do they say about Vietnam?
The movie has made the story have more of a fairy tale ending, and the focus is no longer on the war, but there is a lot of focus on the life of the two Fossie and Bell, and the movie, to some extent, is deviating from the real story. It shares a different perspective which is excellent from the producers but the different message to what the author intended. For example, the fact that the story ends highlighting how Mary continues to perform the job she loves most indicates the focus of the movie.
The film paints Vietnam as a hostile region where women are not welcomed, given the focus of the movie has been placed on Mary Ann Bell.
How do the missing and added parts change the meaning of the book?
It gives the film purpose, which must have been the producer’s aim when creating such a piece. To some extent, it adds depth to the film and thus paints an even clearer picture for its audience.