Teen Volunteer Movie Review: The Count of Monte Cristo

Boston Public Library's teen volunteer program has gone remote! As part of this program, local high schoolers will be sharing their thoughts on books, movies, and more on our blog. Today, Elizabeth Choi, a student at Boston Latin School, is sharing her criticism of The Count of Monte Cristo.

I was pretty excited to watch this movie; I had read Alexandre Dumas’s historical fiction a few months ago and I wondered how the movie adaptation would incorporate the dozens of subplots that make The Count of Monte Cristo such a compelling story. I should’ve seen the blazing red flags at the very beginning when Edmond Dantès (Jim Caviezel) and Fernand Mondego (Guy Pearce) were portrayed as best friends. But I went along with it. From there, it only got worse.

I’m ashamed to say that I was that person, the one who says “that didn’t happen in the book” more times than necessary while watching the adapted screenplay. But the film completely disregarded several major characters and sometimes changed entire storylines. The final insult came when Mercédès Mondego (Dagmara Domińczyk) revealed that Albert de Morcerf (Henry Cavill) was Edmond’s son. By then, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Painting Mercédès in this sympathetic light, like she had to marry Fernand and wasn’t just as deserving of revenge as Danglars (Albie Woodington) was the last straw. I was ready to leave my couch, but I wanted to see how much more awful the movie got. I wasn’t disappointed.

Ignoring the book and viewing the movie objectively, I’ll say with reluctance that some of the casting decisions weren’t half-bad and that a couple of scenes were okay. But one can’t adapt a classic piece of literature onto the big screen and expect the audience to dismiss the original work. Even my brother, who’d never so much as read a summary of the book, was rolling his eyes right along with me.