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‘A Hologram for the King’ Movie Review

13 Jul

Movie Poster via Wikipedia

When I read A Hologram for the King, I wasn’t expecting much. I’d read an Eggers book before but the topic was so vastly different that I didn’t see how the same man could have written both books. I adored Hologram but couldn’t articulate well why. It reminded me a bit of Waiting for Godot but set in Saudi Arabia. That doesn’t instill much confidence, does it? I was excited when the movie came out but it didn’t get much hype. I took it up north to my parents’ cottage to watch with them and hubby and everyone seemed to like it though it had a meandering plot similar to the book.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

The King’s Metropolis of Economy and Trade. Description of the city is one thing, but seeing it on-screen was incredible. I kept having questions about how there was water and electricity in that remote part of the desert, but that’s beside the point. It was crazy to see the city rising out of the desert and even crazier to know it’s based on an actual city! The novel used the real name, King Abdullah Economic City.

Yousef. The quirky and mischievous driver was more fun in real life. He was really funny and I can’t remember how much of that humor was present in the book. My favorite line was when he found out Alan was late and said, “If you’re in a hurry, we should be going this way,” and did a complete 180 in the taxi.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Seeing Mecca. I don’t remember that part from the book at all. It was fun to have it thrown in, adding a little more adventure to Alan’s trip to Yousef’s home. It was clear the images were stock, which was the only thing that bothered me. I think they could have been worked in a little better but it was a fun scene to add.

Cover Image via

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Communication with Kit. Alan was writing to Kit all the time in the book. His inability to provide for her as a father was a major motivator for him to stick around in Jeddah and wait for the King to show up. It was clear she was part of his reason and motivation, but I think it was more stressed in the book.

Things That Changed Too Much

The ending. This was the only thing that really bothered me. I remember the ending of the book is annoyingly vague. Alan was going to stay but wasn’t sure what he would do or where he would live. Nothing was going well with Dr. Zahra and he was very alone. All of that was different in the book. He was selling housing units at KMET, he was living with Zahra, and he seemed really happy. One of the things I loved about the book is that it didn’t wrap up in a nice little bow but the movie did. It was 20 seconds at the end, but it was too much for me.

I was sad to hear this was a box office flop. I guess other people don’t enjoy movies about waiting as much as I do. Reader, have you seen the A Hologram for the King movie? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

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