The Biggest Differences Between The Cloud Atlas Book And Movie
Letters from Zedelghem
He's in Scotland, not Belgium. This change doesn't materially affect any of the story, and allows the mansion where Vyvyan Ayrs live to become the same nursing home where Timothy Cavendish is later imprisoned-- a very neat swap.
We see Frobisher and Sixsmith together. Frobisher's letters to Sixsmith in the book, including lines like "that is why I love you" and "we both know in our hearts who is the sole love of my short, bright life" make their romance clear enough, but in the scene where Frobisher jumps out the hotel window to avoid paying his bill, he is in bed with Sixsmith-- a touching image that immediately evokes the depth of their relationship. In a wordless sequence of escape Frobisher says goodbye and borrows Sixsmith's waistcoat, gestures of love that strengthen the affection in the letters to come.
Eva is cut out entirely. It was surprising to re-read the book after seeing the movie and remembering what a huge role Ayrs's daughter Eva plays, as Frobisher is sleeping with both her and her mother Jocasta, and becomes infatuated with Eva to the point of self-ruin. But, as mentioned above, the Cloud Atlas movie is more focused on pure, eternal love, so there is more emphasis on Frobisher and Sixsmith's relationship, without the Eva infatuation to cloud things. It's one of the biggest changes in all the stories, but undoubtedly for the better.
Frobisher falls a bit for Ayrs… and also shoots him. The beats of the relationship between composer and assistant are roughly the same, but at a moment of connection Frobisher falsely senses a romantic spark between them-- a parallel of his Eva infatuation from the book, and a fascinating wrinkle to what's already a fascinating relationship. It gets even more complicated when Frobisher swipes Ayrs's gun and then accidentally shoots him. He doesn't kill him, but that causes the manhunt that eventually leads to his suicide.
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