Our Favorite Movies Based on Books
By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin
If you are anything like me, you'd be a literary and movie buff combined.
We'd be huge fans of both books and films.
What better way to enjoy both genres at once than to watch a film based on a book.
Film adaptations have had a fascinating appeal and unforgettable as far back as any of us can remember.
We love movies based books because...
- Moving images bring characters to life.
- A film adaptation helps us to make better sense of the books we read.
- A movie is condensed and easier to understand.
- It has actors we admire and connect with
The vivid images of the characters in a book, seen more clearly in movies, help to bring them to life. We see them live, breathe, eat and move, something we can only visualize if we merely read the book.
A film adaptation helps us to make better sense of the books we read. It was far easier to digest the very lengthy Lord of the Rings with Peter Jackson's 9 hour trilogy.
A movie is summarized, condensed and way shorter than the novel it adapts, which makes it more digestible. The short length does a better job of getting its point across, considering our very short attention spans.
Besides, a movie usually stars actors we relate to admire for all the glamor attached. With their help, the novel becomes much more captivating.
What makes a book to movie adaptation a success
A film adaptation should be what it is - an adaptation. It should offer a different perspective from the novel itself. Doing so may challenge those who feel that a film adaptation should stick closely to the details of the novel. One which does not, however, ironically draws one's attention to the book's salient points because we would say "Aha! This is different from what I've read."
A film adaptation should summarize the novel accurately and succinctly, without losing the novel's essence.
It should make it easy for those who've not yet read the book to appreciate it and understand. Delving into the novel after seeing the movie would be less of a task.
A film adaptation may tell a tale differently from a book. Still, it should capture the reader's feelings as he reads the novel.
Joy Luck Club
Our favorite movies based on books
These movies have managed to bring life to the books they adapt and secure a firm place in our memories.
The Joy Luck Club
Based on the novel by Amy Tan and adapted into a film by Tan and Ronald Bess, the story revolves around four young American Chinese women and their traditional, immigrant mothers.
Tan presents the problems of the generation gap and cultural chasms between each young woman and her mother with much sensitivity.
Though not really restricted material by today's standards, Tan touches on controversial issues through the eyes of each of the four women, and these can be disturbing for younger viewers of the film.
Forrest Gump Long Run Scene
Based on the novel by WInston Groom and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the movie depicts the life of a simple man with little brain activity. Forrest, in all his simplicity, has thought provoking insights on life, his most famous take being that it's "a box of chocolates….you never know what you're going to get."
Tom Hanks gave a stunningly moving portrayal of a man who enjoyed life, cherishing and admiring its simplicity and the film was, for me, perhaps a more heart rending adaptation than the novel.
Bridget Jones' Diary
Bridget Jones Diary
Helen Fielding's novel of the same name spawned this British comedic gem directed by Sharon McGuire. A misinterpretation of Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice, the movie was
a hilarious, well-rounded interpretation made possible by great performances by Colin Firth, as the romantic "Mark Darcy", Hugh Grant as the caddish Daniel Cleaver and Rene Zellwegger, as the torn-between-two lovers Bridget Jones. Not surprisingly, she scored an academy award nomination for her performance.
For the movie to be really effective for you though, you'd have to be familiar with both the novels concerned.
The Mambo Kings
The Mambo Kings
This movie birthed from Oscar Hijuelo's novel The Mambo Kings play songs of love. The first directorial attempt by Arne Glimcher, his insistence on the casting of Antonio Banderas and Armande Assante as aspiring young musicians who fled Cuba and came to America proved to be a good move that gave the movie its authenticity.
The movie received mostly positive reviews.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Adapted by the novel by Ron Jansen, this is an account of the life of Jesse James in his final months till the day the 19 year old Ford, who idolizes him,joins him on a planned heist and finally shoots him.
Performances by Casey Affleck as Ford and the gorgeous Brad Pitt as James were beautiful and stunning. The script itself was a thorough adaptation of the novel, though its pacing was somewhat slow for me.
This psychological thriller based on Stephen King's 1977 novel of the same name was directed with finesse by Stanley Kubrick. A close adaptation of King's write, I it describes a man who descends into madness after being plagued by ghosts at a hotel he puts up at with his wife and children.
Jack Nicholson dramatizes the descent into madness with realistic aplomb, and makes for a watch that left, and still leaves, audiences enthrall end by his psychosis.
The Notebook - ending
This tale shows how wonderfully assuring love can be. Based on Nicholas Spark's novel of the same name, it is a romantic tale of two star crossed lovers from the 1940s, separated by war and disparity of status.
With wonderful, sensitive performances by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, this film defies its teen chick flick impression and Is instead a film about coming through life 's adversities. An adaptation that does the novel justice, it makes a wonderful watch.
Which is your favorite movie?
Which is your favorite movie
Ths pairing of Cruise and Spielberg is not likely but works well for this science fiction thriller. Adapted from Phillip K Dick's short story of the same name, the adaptation has been touted as having a 99% alignment with the novel.
It certainly does. Spielberg stays true to its complex layers of storytelling and, together with cruise, helps to bring the novel to life.
Adaptations, when well dramatized, bring a novel to life.
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