Based on the Non-Selling Book
What White Pages: The Movie adds in engaging storytelling, it loses in scope.
Of course, there's just no room in the film for most of the book's vast cast of characters. But the director's decisions about where to focus the sprawling story feel arbitrary. Abby Aachen, who appears in the book's unforgettable opening line, was an obvious choice for heroine. But why is Xavier Zyller elevated from a minor character who appears at the end of the book into the movie's male lead?
And of the five Brenda Hamptons in the book, why choose the one who lives at 17 Oak Crown Circle? Wouldn't the one at 7979 79th Street have better underscored the story's themes of repetition and urban anonymity?
To be sure, the task of filming this "unfilmable" work is a daunting one, and White Pages: The Movie perhaps succeeds as well as any adaptation could. But those looking to explore the story's fundamental questions - Is your name really yours when you share it with twelve other people? How can solitary individuals hope to find each other in such a complex world? What is the name, address, and telephone number of everyone in the city? - would do better to stick with the book.