When you need to see the movie and read the book
The adaption is the best high-wire act in Hollywood. For example, adapting everything from classic literature to pop songs has led to the question “is the movie better than the book?” when more often than not both are worth the time because they tend to add to each other rather than take away from each other. For people who like their stories to work both ways, here are good movie and book adaptations.
Emma and Emma (2020)
As many as we’ve seen of Jane Austen’s Emma on TV, we should be tired of seeing it. But 2020’s version, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and directed by Autumn de Wilde, is both delightful and familiar. In de Wilde’s version, there’s a modern feel to it, which makes Austen’s sharp social satire less noticeable. But the story is even funnier and more frivolous because of it. And, yes, the whole thing is still as charmingly messy as the source material intended. As Taylor-Joy portrays Emma, the movie stands out. At times, she makes the main character even more unlikable because of how she portrays her. In fact, Emma herself couldn’t have found a better person to be with. —RuthKinane
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln (2012)
It says in the credits for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln that the movie is “based in part” on Team of Rivals, a huge biography of the 16th president played by Daniel Day-Lewis and three of his political rivals who became cabinet members. It takes up most of Lincoln’s running time, but it only shows a few pages of the book. It focuses on the president’s shady ways to get the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the US, through Congress. But if you read Team of Rivals before watching Lincoln, or the other way around, you’ll be amazed at how well the film incorporates details from the book. Lincoln’s convoluted reasoning for the Emancipation Proclamation’s legality, his relationships with his wife Mary (Sally Field) and Secretary of State William Seward (David Strathairn), and his habit of telling peopley stories and jokes (many of which are almost verbatim from the book to the screen) are just a few examples. A book and its movie adaptation don’t often go together so well. It was Tyler Aquilina who wrote this.
Room and Room (2015)
The 2010 book about being held captive didn’t need all the magic of filmmaking to make it a truly scary story. Anyone who has read the book knows how it feels to race through the pages, both excited and afraid. Moviegoers had to be on their toes when it came out five years later. In both the book and the movie, author Emma Donoghue makes the story into a dark, cramped place like Room before letting the reader or viewer out into a bright, hopeful place where they are dazed but still on guard. —RuthKinane
The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries (2001)
We want to be best friends with Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia, no matter how we see her on the page or in the movie. We don’t know. She’s a lot of fun; she has a lot of swoony romances; and, oh yeah, she’s a princess! In both the book and the movie, Mia is a 16-year-old geek who finds out that she is the princess of a small European country. Her life changes when she finds out. Anne Hathaway is a big hit as a young actress in the movie, and Julie Andrews is always elegant as her grandmother. The book’s grandma isn’t very charming, but her diary entries make you laugh out loud. Both the page and the screen have the best thing about great storytelling: a lot of heart. They are a very classy pair from Genovia. In this case, the name is Maureen Lee Lenker.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Supposedly, author Ken Kesey didn’t like the 1975 movie version of his 1962 book, which put him in the minority: To this day, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of the best movies ever made. It was only the second movie in history to win the “Big Five” Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay). It’s all about Jack Nicholson’s McMurphy, who tries to lead a mental hospital’s inmates in revolt against Nurse Ratched, who is very strict (Louise Fletcher). “Chief” Bromden, who appears to be deaf and mute, is the narrator of the book, which is based on Kesey’s work at a mental institution (and his experiences with psychedelic drugs). These two books will stay with you for a long time. They’re both worth your time. It was Tyler Aquilina who wrote this.
I, Tina and What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993)
Let’s start with this: Tina Turner doesn’t like What’s Love Got to Do With It, the movie version of her book I, Tina. The Academy nominated Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne for their roles in the movie. To not pay attention to them would be to miss out on some of the most intense energy ever seen on screen. Turner’s book, Tina Turner: My Love Story, and the movie give people a sense of how much story building goes into the myths of rock royalty’s biggest stars. Between them, people can get a sense of how much work goes into making these stories. She is: Sarah Sprague
The Age of Innocence and The Age of Innocence (1993)
Wharton’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel comes alive on the page thanks to her witty prose. It shows the world of late-1800s, upper-class New York in all its glory. That faithful 1993 adaptation sings on screen as well when it’s directed by Martin Scorsese. The film’s production design, costumes, and cinematography bring the vivid details of the book to life on the screen. Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a high-society lawyer who can’t help but fall in love with his fiancee’s cousin, Ellen (Michelle Pfeiffer). Ellen is a free-spirited woman who is the opposite of Archer’s bride-to-be (Winona Ryder). Forbidden, simmering love is what holds the movie together. It shows a bygone time and a group of people who were as bad as any of the Mafia clans in any of Scorsese’s crime movies. It was Tyler Aquilina who wrote this.
Little Women and Little Women (2019)
It’s been retold many, many times over the years, and for good reason. This year’s Greta Gerwig-directed version has a new twist on the story that’s still relevant today, but still stays true to the overall spirit of the source material. Unlike a retelling, the movie doesn’t skip over some of the book’s most famous moments, like a curling iron mishap and a near-death experience in an icy pond. It introduces a more modern tone, but it still manages to stay true to Louisa May Alcott’s goal of writing a story about female strength, which is timeless. —RuthKinane
To Kill a Mockingbird and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
The book and movie versions of To Kill a Mockingbird are both beloved. More than 50 years later, the book and movie versions of To Kill a Mockingbird are still powerful, with their themes still relevant in modern-day America. It has been a long time since Gregory Peck played Atticus Finch in the movie, but Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book is still as popular as ever. Our best hope is that you’ll put To Kill a Mockingbird in front of your eyes now, even if you’ve already read it. We’d like to see a world where everyone took its call for empathy seriously. It was Tyler Aquilina who wrote this.
Le Transperceneigeand Snowpiercer (2013)
A post-apocalyptic story that people enjoy. Le Transperceneige is a French comic book that tells the story of a revolution on a train where humanity’s last survivors live after a second ice age. The movie Snowpiercer, which came out in 2013, is based on that story. Director Bong Joon Ho’s first English-language film shows how even when the world ends, the problems that the last refugees face don’t just go away because mankind is going to die. Chris Evans plays revolutionary leader Curtis, who fights the controlling Mason (Tilda Swinton), who works to keep the train and oppressive system that is driving it forward moving. People loved the film’s visual style and how the director paid close attention to its source material, which was only available in French and Korean before it came out. ‘Alamin Yohannes’ is a name