As a booklover, I sometimes have a love-hate relationship with movies based on books I’ve read. On the one hand, it can be awesome to see your favourite books brought to life on the big screen. On the other, it can be irritating or downright disappointing when certain details or subplots are left out, major events are changed, or the essence of a character is lost. Here are some of my favourite book to movie adaptations (more to come in Part 2).
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
(based on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares)
The ultimate friendship movie – lots of falling in love, making mistakes, growing up, family drama and, of course, being there for your friends no matter what. I have watched this movie many times and I’ll probably watch it many more.
(based on Room by Emma Donoghue)
This movie was amazing and really brought the book to life. It was one of those movies that you keep thinking about long after you’ve watched it. There were several intense scenes where I was on the edge of my seat, hoping everything would work out. I’m thinking particularly of the scenes of Jack in the truck and Jack talking to the police officer. The mother-child bond and chemistry between Ma (Brie Larson) and Jack (Jacob Tremblay) was so evident on the screen.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
(based on Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins)
This was my absolute favourite adaptation of the series; I could watch it over and over. There were so many intense and emotional scenes. It has all the best of the first Hunger Games: the reaping, the training, the interviews with Caesar Flickerman, and of course the actual Games. But added to that is the growing tension of unrest and rebellion in the districts, the twist of the Quarter Quell, and the additional twist at the end – the realization that there’s a bigger plan being orchestrated.
The Spectacular Now
(based on The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp)
I haven’t read the book that the movie is based on, so I can’t speak to whether it’s a good or accurate adaptation. However, the movie itself was really good. It felt very realistic, with top-notch acting – it seemed as though the characters weren’t performing from a script at all but simply coming up with things to say as they went along, as you would in real life. They stumbled over words and talked over each other. They did things that made you want to shake them, scream at them, ask them what the hell they were doing. This movie is not a glossy, polished Hollywood blockbuster; it demonstrates the messy, imperfectness of life.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
(based on – what else – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling)
Sometimes I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with these movies. It’s certainly awesome to see Hogwarts and the Harry Potter universe come to life on the big screen. On the other hand, some of the movies bug me, whether because they leave out so many details or even whole scenes that would’ve been amazing to watch or because they miss the boat in some way. I recently re-read the fourth and fifth Harry Potter books and then re-watched the fourth and fifth movies and I felt this way about those adaptations. But despite all this, I couldn’t NOT put Harry Potter on the list. I mean, come on. That’s why I chose the very first one. I quite like this one as an adaptation; it’s where everything begins and I think it captures the, well, magicalness of the magical world. We are introduced to that world along with Harry, and we’re just as much in awe as he is. Plus, who can resist baby-faced Dan, Rupert, and Emma?
More coming in Part 2!
What are some of your favourite book to movie adaptations?