HomeMoviesDoctor Sleep: the differences between the book by Stephen King and the film with Ewan McGregor

Doctor Sleep: the differences between the book by Stephen King and the film with Ewan McGregor

Doctor Sleep: the differences between the book by Stephen King and the film with Ewan McGregor


In 1980 he came to the cinema Shiningmasterpiece of Stanley Kubrick based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Stephen King. Combining the typical atmospheres of the best known of the authors of the thrill with the aesthetic rigor of the director of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film still asserts itself today as a work of extraordinary visual and emotional power, capable of instilling deep fear in the spectators while not showing anything explicitly shocking, but the “simple” descent into madness of the protagonist Jack Torrance. In 2013, King then decided to give life to a sequel novel of his masterpiece, Doctor Sleepwhich became a film directed by in 2019 Mike Flanagan.

As is well known, King never loved the transposition that Kubrick made from his novel. The two works, in fact, are very different both in the development and in the conclusion. Doctor Sleep it was therefore also a way to shift attention back to Shining book, going to tell what happened after the events told there. The adaptation that Flanagan then wrote and directed of it remains quite faithful to the new book by King, according to which this new film redeems everything he hated about the 1980 filmas “takes my novel, Doctor Sleep, and manages to weld it somewhat seamlessly into Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

However, there are some inevitable differences between the two works, due to the need to simplify and streamline a story that in the book develops over 514 pages. These, however, were judged positively by King and did not affect the value of the story. Before embarking on a vision of the film, therefore, it could be useful to delve into some of the main curiosities related to it, as well as the differences between it and the novel. Continuing here in the reading it will in fact be possible to find further details relating to these differences, but also on the plot and al cast of actors. Finally, the main ones will also be listed streaming platforms containing the film in their catalogue.

The plot and the cast of Doctor Sleep

31 years after the trauma he experienced as a child at the Overlook, Dan Torrance still struggles to find some semblance of inner peace. Leading a very private life, he works as a caretaker in a hospice, where he uses his gift of the “shine” to comfort dying patients. The stability achieved, however, shatters when he meets Abra, a teenager gifted in turn with the “sparkle”. Knowing that Dan also shares this power, the young woman requests her help against the ruthless Cylinder roses and his followers, the members of The knot, who feed on the Luster of the innocent in search of their immortality. Dan will therefore decide to help Amber defeat the group, knowing that this could awaken the ghosts of his past.

To interpret the now adult Dan Torrance there is Ewan McGregor, who received King’s blessing in taking on the role. The actor, however, said he wasn’t a huge horror fan and had been watching Shining only in old age. Fascinated by the story of Doctor Sleep however, he accepted the part, declaring himself satisfied with the result. Next to him, the young woman Kyliegh Curran plays Ambra, having beaten the competition of more than eight hundred candidates from all over the world. The actress Rebecca FergusonFinally, she plays the ruthless Rose Top Hat, a character she agreed to play mainly to be able to star in a film based on a novel by King, whom she considers a great writer.

Then the actors play in the film Carl Lumbly as Dick Hallorann, the Overlook Hotel’s deceased head chef who also owns the “shimmer,” Zahn McClarnon as Crow Daddy, lover of Rose, e Emily Alyn Lind in those of Snakebite Andi, a member of Il Nodo with the ability to physically control people. They complete the cast Bruce Greenwood as Dr. John Dalton, Dan’s employer, Alex Essoe in those of Wendy Torrance and Jacob Tremblay in those of Bradley Trevor, victim of The Knot. The actor Henry Thomasknown for having been Elliott in ET – The extraterrestrialhere plays the role of Jack Torrance in some flashbacks.


Doctor Sleep: the differences between the book and the film

Let us now find out what are the differences between King’s novel and Flanagan’s film. First, it is important to highlight how the film chooses to follow what the film proposes Shining, as it is now generally better known. That’s why in the adaptation of Doctor Sleep the Overlook Hotel is still extant, albeit abandoned, while in the sequel novel this is a pile of rubble having exploded at the end of the book Shining. As for the characters, however, not all those present in the pages of Doctor Sleep managed to make it to the big screensuch as Amber’s grandmother, who instead plays a fundamental role in the novel.

Still regarding the characters, it is important to note how there are strong differences between who dies and who survives in the two works. In the film, in fact, we witness a greater number of characters who fail to reach the end, thus giving the film a rather different meaning than that of the book. Important differences are found in the representation of Il Nodo and Rose Cilindro. In the book, the group is described as middle-aged and older folks who dress like retirees and drive around America in their RVs. In the film, however, they are young, good-looking and dressed in a colorful and varied way. The film also added black people to the group, not featured in the book.

Compared to the book, in the film Rose is indeed the leader of Il Nodo, but she doesn’t always have the last word on what to do. On several occasions she is in fact Crow Daddy to suggest the next activities of the group, which in fact makes Rose less threatening. His hat is also less threatening, who in the novel is instead a real character capable of appearing in the imagination of the other protagonists. Finally, just as happened between the book Shining and its film adaptation, also for Doctor Sleep the ending is completely different, with that of the film leaving a much darker message. Despite these differences, however, King appreciated Flanagan’s adaptation, judging it consistent with the spirit of his book.

The trailer of Doctor Sleep and where to watch the film in streaming and on TV

You can enjoy Doctor Sleep thanks to its presence on some of the most popular streaming platforms on the net today. This is in fact available in the catalogs of Rakuten TV, Chili Cinema, Google Play, Apple TV, Infinity and Amazon Prime Videos. To see it, once the reference platform has been chosen, it will be enough to rent the single film or subscribe to a general subscription. In this way you will be able to watch it in total comfort and at the best video quality. The film is also present in the television schedule of Thursday 11 May at 21:15 On the canal Italy 2.

Sources: IMDb, Loopers