I liked the book of The Monuments Men enough to go see this in theaters, which is not something I often do. I ended up enjoying it pretty well, but was a bit disappointed in the changes made from the book. I liked seeing the story brought to life. Even the helpful cast list the author had is no match for seeing living, breathing people when it came to engaging my sympathy for a large number of characters. In both the book and the movie, the humorous and the serious mixed in sometimes jarring ways. Saving art is important! And oh by the way, here’s a sad story about people dying to make you question the value of art. I found the juxtaposition stranger in the movie than in the book though, perhaps because the trailers I watched made me expect a light-hearted story.
As is so often the case, the movie added exciting but completely fictional events to the events of the book. In some ways, this might have been the right thing to do. For instance, even with the added action, my boyfriend who had not read the book found the movie a bit slow. However, I think these men deserve to be remembered and I think fictionalizing their story defeats the purpose of telling it to begin with. I found the fictionalized crush the one women had on one of the men in the movie particularly offensive because I think she seems less admirable as a result. I also disliked that exciting events were made up. There were instances in the book, such as one of the monuments men being mistaken for a spy that could have been humorously elaborated on instead of making things up from scratch. For all my complaints, I think this was a well made if slightly slow movie. It just doesn’t stand up well to a comparison with the wonderful book!