Amazon’s Three Pines: Masterpiece or Travesty?

I consider mystery writer Louise Penny nothing short of a genius when it comes to her fiction stories, so when I heard there was going to be an Amazon Prime film adaptation of her Gamache series, I was excited. I couldn’t wait and tuned into the trailer for Three Pines as soon as it aired.

Then I began to watch.

That’s not Gamache, I said to myself when actor Alfred Molina came on the screen, but I wanted to give it a chance, so I continued on. A new stranger took the stage, a character whom I didn’t recognize at all. Next was the old poet Ruth, obvious only by the duck in her arms, but aside from the bird, I saw little of Ruth Zardo in the meticulously-disheveled actress made up to look like a Hallmark Movie’s idea of old.

A thought began to form in my head—Maybe this series is not for me after all.

I’m not saying it’s bad. The ratings have been excellent, and besides, I can’t begin to judge its quality by that clipped minute of the trailer. But for those of us who love Penny’s work, who have read every one of her eighteen books and wait excitedly for the next, Three Pines might not make the grade.

Penny’s Gamache books are multi-layered, image-filled, and as beautifully tuned as a violin string. Her words ring like poetry that can’t help but create vivid images in the reader’s mind. Unless done by a filmmaker with equal genius, as well as an empathetic understanding of Penny’s work, any attempt to make the series into a movie would be understandably two-dimensional.

I haven’t watched the show, so I could be wrong about Three Pines. Maybe, like the Hobbit movies, it manages to portray the aura of the books. Or maybe it takes a different but equally as brilliant approach as did the Battlestar Galactica remake and the new Sherlock. Maybe someday I will decide to watch it.

So don’t take my word for it. Go ahead and enjoy this incarnation of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Three Pines, Quebec. But please, read the books too.

“You have to be able to separate the books (they are the greatest mystery books ever written) from the TV series.  If you can, I think you will love it…” —IMDb Reviewer

You can find more about Louise Penny’s bestselling and award winning book series as well as about Amazon Prime’s Three Pines here.


About Mollie Hunt

Loves cats. Writes books.
This entry was posted in Book Talk, Reviews, television series, TV Mysteries, What I'm Watching and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to THREE PINES: A Not-Review

  1. margaretfromwinstonor says:

    Louise Penny said she liked Alfred Molina but some of the other stuff not so much. I imagine the author got paid plenty for the TV rights to her stories, so I don’t have a lot of sympathy. My general rule when movies are made from books is to think of them as two totally separate things (like instant coffee vs real coffee). One exception is The Shipping News. I liked the movie better than the book.

  2. As a being who hasnt read the books, I am thoroughly enjoying the Prime series. But it is the same with the MC Beaton series that have been serialised, like Hamish Macbeth. They relate very badly to the books, in fact so different that both can be enjoyed for their own merits. Taste is so subjective, and everyone sees the same thing differently. Twice the joy from a single work?

  3. Brian says:

    I don’t like it when they take a good book and ad lib large chunks of it.

  4. jowensauthor says:

    This tends to happen a lot with books turned into movies or TV series. Rarely do they mesh with the source material, even with the author involved (fingers crossed for the Percy Jackson TV series). It’s usually best to take them for what they are and suspend expectations.

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