Because of my lukewarm feelings about the book, I wasn't in a hurry to see the movie. The movie had a very limited release, and was only showing in Orlando for a short time. But several friends of mine were able to see the movie and loved it. Plus I do love Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient) and thought she might be able to soften up my irritation with the character of Julia.
Overall, I felt a bit more positive about the film than the book. Thomas portrayed more of a thoughtful, feeling business woman and less of a whiner and martyr. But she and the little girl who played Sarah were the only actors that made any kind of an impression. The attraction is more the story, which is positively heartbreaking in so many ways.
The book-to-movie translation, from what I remember from my reading experience, was very true to form. The portrayal of Sarah was just exactly what you would want...full of fire and determination. There were no shortcuts taken, no major plot points eliminated, and the emotions and the tension was just as intense (if not more so) than the book. My stomach hurt almost from the very beginning, and knowing what was coming, forced upon me some really UGLY crying jags. No sniffling, but chest-heaving sobs, hands over the face, swollen eyes. There isn't anything graphic shown, but the implication of the various tragedies was just as bad.
I was unsatisfied with the ending of the book, and while all that predictability was muted by the movie, it was still there and came across as particularly corny. My husband was invested up to the last 15 minutes or so, but then proceeded to do a few eye rolls. I was more forgiving because I was still busy being emotional.
Overall, if you read the book, liked it, and don't mind a good cry, I would recommend renting this one.