There have been a lot of adaptations of books coming out recently, so in light of that I wanted to talk about a few of my favorite adaptations to TV or film!
I won’t be including movies that I haven’t read the books for (such as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) or, obviously, books that have movie adaptations that I haven’t yet seen (such as The Darkest Minds). I have to have both read the book and seen the adaptation for it to be on this list.
Love, Simon (2018)
based on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I can only start off this list with my favorite book to movie adaptation of this year! I love both the book and the movie with all my heart – they both mean so much to me and make me so happy. It’s one of the closest adaptations to a book I’ve seen, and I’m even okay with most of the changes that were made. I’ve watching this movie four times since it came out and I don’t think I’ll get tired of it anytime soon.
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I watch this movie basically every year and will probably continue to do so for basically forever. Not only is it one of the most beautiful, romantic, and aesthetically pleasing movies I’ve ever seen, but I love it as an adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic. Plus, the soundtrack? Incomparable. And this may be a controversial opinion, but Keira Knightley will always be my favorite Elizabeth Bennet.
The Book Thief (2013)
based on The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Of course it would be impossible to convey the true beauty and atmosphere of the language in this book, as well as the true depth of having Death as a narrator, but I love what this movie is able to accomplish. I’m also amazed at the child actors in this movie, who do a wonderful job of carrying the story and conveying the wide range of emotion required of them. This movie makes me cry almost as much as the book does.
A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017- )
based on A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket’s children’s books have long been a favorite for me, and after the 2004 movie that I’ve tried to blank out of my mind, I doubted I would ever see an adaptation that captures its tone. But this Netflix show manages to do it spot on. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s got the perfect aesthetic, the script often matches the books word for word, and it’s got that blend of silliness and darkness that I love about the books.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
based on The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
^ That gif is what I look like when I think about The Fault in Our Stars.
I know a lot of YA readers have moved on from this book, but it was one of the first YA books that I truly loved and one of the first movie adaptations that I came away from with no complaints. It’s hard to make a movie for young audiences that’s basically about the meaning of life and death, but between John Green’s storytelling and the incredible performances by the leading actors, this movie touched me just as deeply as the book.
The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)
based on The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
This series is one that I rewatch every year (yes, the 12 hour extended editions) because they’re so well done that I can never, ever get tired of them. I’ve certainly watched the movies more than I’ve read the books, which I’ve only read through completely once, and even though these movies have to condense and cut a lot from the books, they still manage to be incredibly complex and multi-layered with many different storylines and characters to fall in love with. Also, I can basically recite them by heart.
A Monster Calls (2016)
based on A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I wouldn’t have thought it was possible for a movie to make me feel all the emotions I felt while I was reading Patrick Ness’ book, especially since so much of that emotion is enhanced by Jim Kay’s illustrations. But this movie does it brilliantly. It had to add some things since the book is pretty short, yet it had the same feeling and messages that I got from the book. Also, Liam Neeson as the monster was the best casting decision they could have possibly made.
based on Stardust by Neil Gaiman
This is one of the rare instances where I love a movie that’s drastically different than the book it’s based on, and possibly love it even more than the book. (That may have to do with the fact that I watched the movie before reading the book.) Stardust the book and Stardust the movie are two extremely different entities (the main character even has a different name), yet I love the movie so much for its unapologetic silliness. It makes me smile!
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
based on Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
I had to include the most recent movie adaptation I watched because I was surprised by how genuinely I enjoyed this movie, especially because I wasn’t totally into the book. I loved being able to see all the flashiness of Singapore’s upper class on screen, instead of having to imagine it with no point of reference. This movie is a very close adaptation of the book, and I ended up loving it so much more.
The Chronicles of Narnia (2005-2010)
based on The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Following the most recent adaptation I’ve seen with one of the first adaptations I remember watching! The Narnia movies, particularly The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, have a special place in my memory because I clearly remember reading the book for the first time at a young age and going to the movie theatre and seeing everything play out on the screen just as I imagined it. The later movies take some liberties with the story, but I do love returning to that world. And, once again, Liam Neeson was the best possibly casting choice for Aslan. (Sensing a theme here…)
(Also I’m still waiting for my film adaptation of The Horse and His Boy please.)
The Hunger Games (2012-2015)
based on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I know a lot of people got a little tired of The Hunger Games and everything that came along with it, particularly all the Team Gale vs. Team Peeta drama of the early 2010s *shudders* but for me these adaptations really raised the bar. The Catching Fire movie in particular is in one of my top spots for adaptations in terms of accuracy to the book. Despite all the annoying focus on the love story, these movies do a good job of conveying the strong anti-war and totalitarian messages that made me appreciate the books.
What are your favorite adaptations of books? What books do you want to see adapted into movie or TV?