If you have read some of my previous blog posts, then you might know that The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton was one of my favourite books I read last year. I felt it was a modern classic, just beautifully written.
It was adapted into a television drama in December 2017, so after reading the book, I decided that this was essential viewing. I have now seen the adaptation, so here are my thoughts:
What I liked
It was very faithful to the book. Sometimes you get adaptations that change too many crucial details from the book, but this one felt very true to the story and I enjoyed seeing how Jessie Burton’s powerful and imaginative writing had been realised on screen.
There was only one very significant difference from the book, and that is when Nella actually meets and has a conversation with the Miniaturist herself. In the book the Miniaturist is more elusive, but this left some unanswered questions, so overall I didn’t really mind that the TV adaptation made this change.
The settings. The 17th century Amsterdam setting was almost exactly how I imagined it to be while I was reading the book, in particular the Brandt household and the river that flows just beyond their doorstep. The production values were excellent.
The acting. I thought Anya Taylor-Joy was very good as Nella, conveying well how the character adjusts to her unconventional life and becomes more authoritative as the story goes on. I also really liked Alex Hassell’s portrayal of Johannes, making him a more likeable character than in the book.
What I liked less
It felt a bit rushed. The book contains a multi-layered plot and a lot of depth, but there were times within the adaptation where too much happened too quickly, and it moved along to the next scene before the impact of the last one could be felt.
The character development. This is a story where a lot of different characters are central to the plot, but a few of them were not well developed enough. I don’t think Marin is as compelling as she was in the book, while it hardly scratches the surface with Otto and Agnes Meermans. If there had been another episode it might have helped.
I thought it was a good adaptation, and generally a good watch. It seemed slightly rushed and I would have liked a few other things from the book to have been explored in more detail, but overall I enjoyed it.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5