‘Through My Window’: Netflix’s Newest Book-to-Screen Adaptation

Op-ed

Lately, we've seen a rise in the number of Wattpad books making their way to our screens, from 'The Kissing Booth' trilogy by Beth Reekles to the 'After' books by Anna Todd. Now we have 'Through My Window' by Ariana Godoy, the typical bad boy romance book that we Wattpad readers have come to love. It's common knowledge that movies often fall short of their book counterparts, so I've read the book and watched the movie to tell you if this applies.

Through My Perspective

So, the movie begins with the two very different worlds of Ares (Julio Peña) and Raquel (Clara Galle) clashing over something as simple as Wi-Fi. The perfect romance meet-cute. From here, their relationship develops with steamy scenes (a quintessential part of Wattpad stories), a cold and confused Ares and a continuously hurt Raquel.

Ares’ character represents the cliché rich bad boy: he’s cold, mysterious, joining the family business, and he doesn’t believe in love. His past and present influence his treatment of Raquel and explains why he finds it difficult to succumb to his love for her. Although we see the story from Raquel’s perspective, it feels like she’s barely there. Her character reacts instead of acts, but I’ll touch more on that later.

First impressions matter

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I remember opening Netflix one day and seeing the ‘Through My Window’ ad pop up; the first thing that caught my eye was the fact that it was an adaption of a Wattpad book. I’m sure you’re all aware of the hold Wattpad seems to have over us teenage girls, and contrary to popular belief, there are some hidden gems on there, as Godoy has shown. Upon watching the movie, I decided that I absolutely HAD to read the book. Not because I loved the movie, but because the movie left me so confused that I just had to see if it was a poorly written story, or if Netflix had just ruined a good thing. It turns out…Netflix ruined a good thing.

Plotting

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To me, the movie lacked a true plot. Obviously, we had the basic outline, you could understand that the idea was an unrequited crush on a bad boy who thinks love makes you weak, then the crush is reciprocated, and they fall in love. However, there wasn’t much beyond this, the relationship between Ares and Raquel felt rushed and ingenuine. There was no real build-up to their love or a moment where we could pinpoint a true turn in their feelings towards each other. People can fall in love, but they also need to learn HOW to love each other; the movie doesn’t explore this aspect of their relationship.

The plot also lacked realism because friendships weren’t explored. Most romance stories show the development of friendships and other relationships outside the main love story. The book gave Netflix the script for this, but for some reason, it wasn’t deemed necessary for the plot. Instead, we had smut shoved down our throats with little to no tension built through flirting and body language. We love a little smut, but without any real context, tension and build-up? I don't want to see it.

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I think we can blame the lack of plot on the unnecessary extras added to the movie. The breaking into the pool scene, the idea that Ares’ family disapproved of Raquel, Ares’ chlorine allergy; all these extras that weren’t necessary and didn’t do much for the movie. The book had everything that the movie needed to be amazing, but the movie removed key scenes and replaced it with scenes that were okay but didn’t have the same effect as the original plot.

The characters

Peña and Galle were perfect for the roles of Ares and Raquel. Despite the poor plot, I could still see the romantic and sexual chemistry between the two professionals. I know that if they had been given a script that matched the book, they would have done wonderfully.

I’m going to start with Raquel. In the book, she is written as a strong young girl who is determined to learn from her mother’s experience with her father. But in the movie, she lacks the original fire and expressiveness that her character was given, she doesn’t stand up for herself and she doesn’t make Ares earn her love. Because of the removal of details like this, the characters lack depth and relatability, which is an important aspect of stories, both on-screen and off.

Dani appears to be irrelevant to the main plot and her character doesn’t appear much in the movie, but upon reading the book I wish they changed this. The movie writes Dani as a promiscuous best friend who doesn’t spend much time with Raquel. Her promiscuity isn't an issue, we don't judge over here, it was just very unnecessary to add. In the book, Raquel and Dani spend more time with each other and these moments add to the personality of their characters. I would have loved to see more of this. Also, and this is sort of off-topic, doesn't Dani give you Maddy from 'Euphoria' vibes?

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There are many missing characters that would have helped make the movie better. For example, Ares' friends from the Hidalgo pool scene and Grandpa Hidalgo, who is actually alive in the book. Raquel also has an admirer at school who adds a playful tone to the story that the movie lacks. These characters may not be extremely important, but their presence in the story adds depth to Ares and Raquel as characters and feeling to the storyline.

Relationships

I’ve mentioned it before, but this just had to have its own section. Godoy created many beautiful relationships within the story that could have been explored in the movie.

At the start, we see a back-and-forth relationship between Ares and Raquel. However, there is a point in the book where they are finally together and it’s a matter of facing issues in their lives together. The movie, however, seems to follow the cliché storyline of something going wrong between them and then they suddenly overcome the issue and get back together again. It's Raquel vs Ares instead of Raquel and Ares vs the issue, like the book.

Raquel and Apollo also develop a friendship outside of Ares in the book, with Apollo moving to her school and joining her group of friends. Their friendship isn’t too important to the plot, but it was a nice aspect that didn’t have to be removed.

A major side plot in the book involves Raquel's mother, Raquel, and her other best friend, Joshua, also known as Yoshi. These two relationships are delved into in the book, creating a side plot that touches on themes of depression and suicide. With mental health being spoken about more, I think this would have been a good time to touch on how depression is not always seen and can go unnoticed. Removing this side plot was a missed opportunity.

To end it all

There's a lot more I could say about the movie, especially the ending, and a lot more missing scenes I could comment on. But I'm sure you get the gist of my opinion by now. There were themes, characters and side plots that were perfect for the story that the movie missed out on. The book was amazing. I loved it and I’m disappointed in the major changes made to the disposition of characters and the plot. Changes in the characters meant changes to the plot, which resulted in a change to the overall impact of the movie.

Godoy did well with the book, and I’m happy she got to see her book become a movie. It’s a huge accomplishment and I congratulate her on it. Go watch the movie, read the book, make your own comparisons and support Ariana Godoy and the professionals behind the movie. But I think I’ll stick with rereading the book.

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Anjola Oshoko
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Anjola Oshoko is a first year marketing student at Birmingham City University. She is a curious individual who is constantly looking for answers to the many questions that run through her mind. You can find her with her nose deep in a book with music providing a soundtrack to her life. And when she isn't reading, she's either with friends or satisfying her curiosities.