I’ll confess I am a sceptic when it comes to adaptations, I am fussy and I over analyse. There seems to be too few scriptwriters and directors who can truly convey the true essence of a novel. I know it can be difficult! We’re talking about completely different mediums here, not everything in a book translates well to a film, I get this I do! So why do people do it?
On occasion though there are films that not only reach my expectations but sometimes surpass them. I don’t expect a book to be followed word for word! I just want a film that can make me feel the way the novel did.
1. Stand by me – based on The Body by Stephen King
I have a confession to make…I actually watched this film before reading the book! In my defence I had no idea it was based on a book at the time, at least not until the end credits. I watched this when I was about 12, back when I had to record it with a tape! Yes not a DVD, a tape. It is still my favourite film to date! It does not follow the book completely and as so often is the case the end has been changed somewhat. However, the perfect casting of the four main characters (who are children by the way), especially River Phoenix as Chris, make this my favourite adaptation.
2. The Hunger Games – based on the novels by Suzanne Collins
I include in this all three of the films so far (with the hope that the fourth will also do its self justice). When I was reading these novels I’ll be honest I could picture what a good film they would make and I wasn’t wrong. These films have been made so well, they do not shy away from the upsetting and emotional nature of the books as so many adaptations seem to do. Again though I think one of its biggest triumphs was the casting of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen.
3. The Notebook – based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks
With this one, I’ll admit…I preferred the film. Although like all of Nicholas Sparks novels, it was written beautifully there was a magic in the film that I just did not expect. I have only ever read the novel once however the film I have watched over and over and over again!
4. The Shawshank Redemption – based on Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
Again I watched the film before reading the book but again for the same reasons, because I honestly didn’t know it was a novel. Least of all did I expect it to be by Stephen King, I guess for the same reasons why I was surprised that The Body was by Stephen King. Because I had grown up thinking that he only wrote horror. It just so happens that both Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and The Body are novella’s in the same book, Different Seasons. I loved the film! It does deviate from the novel in a number of places but! And it is the most important but. It has the novels heart.
5. The Time Traveler’s Wife – based on the novel by Audrey Niffenegger
There is little to say about this one. I enjoyed it, both the book and film. The film manages to convey the inevitability of it all. It is such a complex love story that forces you to question it and I think that the film portrays this. Also I am a big fan of Rachel McAdams, in both this film and in The Notebook. Her effortless performances manage to perfectly capture the truth in her characters.
So there you have it my Top Five Book to Film Adaptations…
Anyone else agree with my choices? Feel free to comment and share any of your favourite adaptations!
You can can check out my other 5 book lists here