What Does a Book Say About a Character?
A book is never simply a prop.
At Fandor the only thing we love more than a good book is a great movie. This video is dedicated to the times two of our favorite things, books and movies, come together on-screen. Enjoy!
How often do we see a character in a movie reading a book? Pretty often, right? But have you ever taken the time to think about what this book has to say about the character or even the film as a whole?
When a book is prominently featured on-screen, it is never an accident, but always a deliberate choice. The filmmaker is trying to convey some sort of significance with the title they chose to place on the shelves, or in the hands of their characters. Just as the books we own say a lot about who we are as people, a character’s book of choice reveals a lot about them and the film which they inhabit. Stanley Kubrick wouldn’t have Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) read The Catcher in the Rye in The Shining without considering the significance of the novel’s connotations in connection with her character. The presence of a book in a particular scene can clue us into a character’s backstory, or even provoke an entirely new reading of the film. Whether the books are heavily discussed, referenced in passing, or just simply seen sitting on a bookshelf, you can bet that there is something for us to learn from them.