We all have books that we’d love to see turned into movies. And we all have books that we loved that were turned into movies…movies that fell disappointingly short of expectation. There are enough blog posts out there about that. Today I’m going to list ten of my favorite books (in no particular order) that were turned into movies that I loved.
- Anne of Green Gables (1985). I don’t think there’s any explanation necessary. Not only did Kevin Sullivan do a bang-up job on the casting (Megan Follows! Colleen Dewhurst! Richard Farnsworth! Jonathan Crombie [RIP]) but the movie picked the best parts from the book and recounted them faithfully, with all of the appeal of the original story.
- Anne of Avonlea (1989). Kevin Sullivan’s second foray into the world of Anne was just as charming and adorable as the first. A mashup of the books Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars, it took a little bit of artistic license but still presented a story that’s a worthy companion to the first.
Note: I will not be discussing Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. IMHO, they should have stopped at two.
3. Divergent (2014). Set in dystopian Chicago, this is a story of a society divided into factions that are supposed to ensure a peaceful – and obedient – population. The movie is a faithful adaptation with action sequences that make even my husband turn this movie on when he sees it on the channel guide.
4. Gone With the Wind (1939). Is there anyone alive who hasn’t seen this movie? Gowns made from window hangings, Atlanta on fire, birth scenes, death scenes, love scenes, war scenes…if somehow you haven’t seen it, get thee to Amazon and buy it, or set a reminder on your TV, because the classic movie channels show it pretty frequently.
5. Jane Eyre (2011). I didn’t actually read this book until college, and when I did, I fell head over heels for Mr. Rochester. I’ve always been a sucker for the tortured type, even if they do keep crazy women locked in their attics. This adaptation, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender (as if Mr. Rochester wasn’t yummy enough already), is far and above my favorite.
6. The Rules of Attraction (2002). Now flipping to the opposite side of the spectrum, this adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ 1987 novel features a mortal and fangless Ian Somerhalder, Jessica Biel doing her best to shed the good-girl persona bestowed on her by the writers of the truly saccharine Seventh Heaven, and a James Van Der Beek that’s about as far from Dawson Leery as you can get. At times disturbing and hilarious, this isn’t just one of my favorite book adaptations, it’s one of my favorite movies of all time.
7. High Fidelity (2000). Based on the book by Nick Hornby, this adaptation starts John Cusack at his most charming, Jack Black at his most obnoxious (if you can picture that – that’s a lot of obnoxious) and Tim Robbins at his most…I don’t even know what. Great cast, great music, and a great story.
8. About a Boy (2002). Another from the Nick Hornby vault, this is the first movie that made me understand why women spent the ’90s drooling over Hugh Grant. Seriously, he’d never done a thing for me before this movie (and actually hasn’t since, but I digress). Nicholas Hoult is fantastic as Marcus, an odd and bullied little boy in London. Toni Collette is his suicidal mother, and Grant is Will, the aimless womanizer who somehow manages to hold them all together. (One caveat, though – I’ve never actually read this book.)
9. The Stand (1994). Technically a TV miniseries starring Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Ruby Dee and Jamey Sheridan, this is an 8-hour adaptation of Stephen King’s enormous book. This might actually be what sparked my fear of the possibility of illness eradicating the human race…I found that flu scarier than Randall Flagg. What does that say about me?
10. Twilight (2008). Haters and judgers, step aside, please. I am unashamed of the fact that I have seen Twilight more than two dozen times, and this first movie of the series has earned a permanent spot of my favorite (note – not those I consider the best, just the ones I most enjoy) book-to-movie adaptations. Yes, it’s a silly story. Yes, the acting is less than impressive. Yes, it’s angsty and the protagonist is a terrible role model and the writing in the book could have been better and blah, blah, blah. I don’t care. It’s escapism at its best. (And Robert Pattinson is hot. Try denying it.)
So those are ten of my favorite books-turned-movies. Did I miss any? What are yours?