Three Thousand Years of Longing Left Me Yearning for A.S. Byatt’s Story Depth

I’m not going to change, but it’s always dangerous to read the book before seeing the movie. But danger in a marvelous way, since our brains are able to picture who we’d cast as actresses and actors, what hotel rooms we envision, etc…
So with that being said, while I enjoyed the movie, it did pale in comparison for the aforementioned reasons.

Do I email A.S. Byatt and ask why she caved on letting them (George Miller, Augusta Moore) take all the meat from her story (her first wish in the story was to have her 30 year old body back which woke as you may be, wait until you’ve been left as her character was for a younger woman with children that no longer need you…you’d be asking for your ‘power body’ back, too)? If she’s anything like me, she realizes too late that her younger body was powerful and yet she never used it. In the character’s back story this also had to do with her shame and repression of physical intimacy after being fondled by a girlfriend’s father. A.S. Byatt also touched on religious fanaticism and equally fair and true, the West’s spoiled fixation on ostentatious renovating and fashionable decor.These are richly deep issues begging for a movie.
Do I script doctor this sucker myself, putting back AS Byatt’s character’s roundness (meaning personality). Yeh sure, she’s an intellect, but guess what? She also loves watching men’s tennis for their bods and ability to move. I’d put back in Boris Becker and take out lame-o Miller’s idea of Albert Einstein.
I’d also insist that the characters have a true lip lock at least once for goodness sake, I mean A.S. Byatt’s sex scene was HOT, and aren’t biracial relationships featured in every commercial on tv? How about fleshing one out in a movie???

Don’t get me wrong, Tilda is great and the fact that she was dressed in her in a bathrobe certainly hides her finely toned body led me to believe the first wish was to be the same. Then they could have had her disrobe and wa-la, it looks like a 30 year old body. Again, why can’t American movies allow themselves to be sexy?
Idris Elba is wonderful as well, though they made him out to be too restrained. If you’ve been longing for 3 thousand years, I think you’d be a little more passionate.
And last complaint, if this is a short story about a middle aged woman who doesn’t want to be ‘floating redundant’ as she refers to herself in the story, why in the world is Tilda’s story given such a backseat to Idris’s three heartbreaks? This miss is even more ironic, given that the first issue raised in the short story is that stories of the past portrayed women as being hysterical, conniving creatures not worthy of humane treatment.

Still worth seeing, but if you want any depth, PLEASE read the short story it was based on called The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eyes by A.S. Byatt.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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