Without a doubt, fans of Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling novel, “The Kite Runner,” have been waiting with a mixture of excitement and dread for the major motion picture to hit theaters. Film versions of books are notoriously disappointing - “The DaVinci Code” and “The Nanny Diaries” being recent examples - because plot points are often omitted, characters changed, or the movie simply doesn’t translate well onto the screen.
Let me assure you, fellow Kite enthusiasts: the movie is GOOD.
“It’s emotionally satisfying,” said Stephen Farber, a seasoned film critic and the host of the screening-and-discussion series, Reel Talk With Stephen Farber. “I think it will be a serious awards contender.”
Hundreds of guests crowded the Wadsworth Theatre in Westwood on Monday, October 22 to see the first major L.A. screening of the highly anticipated and slightly controversial film. Buzz about the pivotal rape scene and the potential danger it poses to the three young Afghani stars of the film has only increased the hype surrounding the release, which has been pushed back from Nov. 2 to Dec. 14. The delay gives Paramount Vantage time to relocate the boys and their families to Dubai, which is supposedly safer.
First-time actors, the boys who play Amir and Hassan are phenomenal. So are the rest of the actors in “The Kite Runner,” who are all relatively obscure. Four of the main adult actors participated in the post-screening Q&A with Farber, including 26-year-old Khalid Abdalla (Amir), who stunned the audience by revealing that he learned to speak Dari, an Afghan dialect, in less than a month in order to play the lead role.
Hosseini also made a last minute surprise appearance and shared his genuine delight at the success of the book-turned-movie experience. Everyone on stage - the author, actors, producers and host/film critic - seemed pleased with the film version.
More importantly, the audience (most of whom raised their hands high when asked if they had read the book) appeared satisfied. They wiped away tears and stood in applause as the emotionally loaded final line of the film was spoken:
“For you, a thousand times over.”