Adaptational Attractiveness: An Interesting Watch

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This video from Trope Anatomy educates about the concept of adaptational attractiveness, a term that describes when characters from books are represented by much more attractive actors in film adaptations. It’s a concept that I’ve noticed but have never known what to term it as.

I can honestly say that I’ve a gained a new perspective from this video, because I’ve never given much thought to adaptational attractiveness. I think because in the past, I just accepted that actors are always beautiful people. No matter how ‘average’ and ‘ordinary’ they refer themselves as, they are still beautiful. I can’t change Hollywood, so why dwell on it? But now my new perspective is, yes, actors may be gorgeous, but they are still doing a character from a book great disservice by not being represented accurately.

What I like about Trope Anatomy is that their arguments are well-balanced and level, you can tell that they really thinks about all sides before constructing the videos. For Trope, adaptation attractiveness really doesn’t come off problematic unless it affects the story or the character. According to Trope, sometimes the depth and layers of the story can be altered. I never thought about this, but if a character’s arc has anything to do with their outward appearance, then the arc would be compromised in the film version. Also, Trope points out that sometimes a character’s flaws are glossed over to match their appealing appearance. This is definitely a huge issue since characters should never be flawless.

For anyone who enjoys books and films, this video is a very interesting watch. It really shines a light on how films alter characters. Sometimes adaptational attractiveness can be really unconscious, and it surprised me in Trope’s examples, cases of adaptational attractiveness that I completely missed. It made me be aware of the fact that I am sometimes blind to Hollywood glossing up book characters.

That is not a good thing.



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