I love watching tv and movie adaptations of the books I’ve read and loved over the years. I’m always apprehensive though because they’re so often badly done. I’m always so disappointed when an adaptation isn’t faithful to the source material, and can often be heard shouting at the television in frustration, something along the lines of ‘That wasn’t in the book!!’. However, sometimes, they get it right, and this post has five of my favourite book to screen adaptations!
In no particular order:
-The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I watched the film version of this about an hour after I finished the book, so the story was still fresh in my mind. I thought it was a really good adaptation – there were scenes in the film that were almost word for word from the book. The heart of the book is the struggle against police brutality against people of colour, and in my opinion, the film also conveyed that well, and I had tears in my eyes for most of it. My only gripe with it is the removal of DeVante and Nana from the film, I thought they were important characters. Also, the hostility between Big Mav and King felt much more pronounced in the book, which added to the tension. Overall though, a very good adaptation. The Hate U Give stars Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, K.J. Apa, Common, and Anthony Mackie.
-Room by Emma Donoghue. Room tells the story of Joy, and her five year old son, Jack. Joy was kidnapped at the age of seventeen and locked in a small shed for seven years. In that time, she is raped by her kidnapper multiple times, and falls pregnant and gives birth to Jack. The film is shown mostly from Jack’s point of view. He knows nothing about life apart from his mother, and ‘room’ which is what he calls their tiny shed. The book was an excellent read, and I remember being impressed with how accurate the film version of it was. It really shows the struggle the two victims faced getting used to the real world, and freedom. I’ve watched it a few times, and I still rate it as a favourite adaptation. The film stars Brie Larson as Joy, and Jacob Tremblay as Jack, with supporting roles by Joan Allen, Sean Bridges, and William H. Macy.
-The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Arguably one of the most popular tv shows to come out in the past two years, The Handmaid’s Tale is based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. The first season follows the course of the book from start to finish. Margaret Atwood created the chilling world of Gilead, a dystopian world where women are only as useful as the children they can conceive. They are not allowed to read, or write, own property, or handle money. The Handmaids are placed in houses of the Commanders and their infertile Wives. Their sole purpose is to conceive a child, and successfully deliver it. The Handmaid’s Tale was published in 1985, but the book, and subsequent tv show are no less relevant to today’s society, which may explain it’s popularity. The Handmaid’s Tale stars Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahinski, Alexis Bledel and Ann Dowd, amongst many others.
-The Outlander series. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, is a historical time travel series, which features Claire Randall, an English newly-wed who is honeymooning in Scotland, in 1945, when she ends up being transported back in time to 1743. She meets and eventually falls in love with Highland warrior, Jamie Fraser. Mistrusted by all because she is a ‘Sassanach’ (an English person), she is in almost constant danger. I discovered the book very shortly before the first season of the show aired, and I actually love them both equally. While the book obviously has more detail, the television version is really faithful, and the casting is spot on. The series starts Caitriona Balfe as Claire, and Sam Heughan as Jamie, with Tobias Menzies doing a skillful job of portraying both Claire’s husband, Frank Randall, and his ancestor, Black Jack Randall.
-Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James. I know I wont win many fans with this one, but I can’t help it – I enjoyed the books and the films, both as pure uncomplicated entertainment. The story is based around Anastacia Steele, a quiet, down to earth college graduate, who meets Christian Grey, a young, rich business tycoon with a fetish for bondage and sadomasochism. They fall in love, but Ana can’t adapt to his lifestyle. While I know that the books are problematic in their potrayal of bondate etc, there was just something about the love story in the books that I enjoyed. And the final book had a great epilogue. The films essentially follow the books, with little deviation. Again, I know this isn’t a popular series of books or films, but I loved them so they make my list! I’m not even sorry! Fifty Shades of Grey stars Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey, and Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele.
And that’s my top five!! I’ll probably think of loads more once I post this, but I struggled to come up with them all! What would you add to this list?