By Phoenicia Schwing

You know that feeling: you fall in love with a book. It becomes your absolute favourite book of all time. Then you hear they are making it into a movie. It can either be really exciting…or very disappointing. 

You have built a bond with that book. You know every detail. You have pictured every scene in your mind as you read it. Then someone goes and messes that up in the film adaptation. Aargh! 

Sometimes it’s necessary to change things or leave things out for the sake of theatrics or time, but nothing is more disappointing than a truly poorly converted book.

On the other hand, watching a film adaptation of a beloved book that perfectly captures everything that made you fall in love with it in the first place is one of life’s real pleasures! Here are some of the book adaptations that lived up to my expectations. 

The Lord Of The Rings

Perhaps one of the most well-known book-to-film adaptations, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a masterpiece on all fronts. Written by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1948, it has never lacked attention to detail—both in the books and in movies. Tolkien created a whole world, including hand-drawn maps and a fully developed language.

Peter Jackson, who directed the film adaptation, stayed true to Tolkien in spirit and intricate detail. Although there was much change in plot and characters, he took his time to capture the essence of what Tolkien was creating. This, despite countless differences and creative liberty, is what makes this interpretation cherished by even the most loyal fans. 

The Devil Wears Prada 

Written by Lauren Weisberger, The Devil Wears Prada was published in 2003, and only three years later, its movie counterpart, directed by David Frankel, was released. The producers of the film liked the premise and idea of the story so much that they bought the rights to the book before it was even finished!

But, when the book was completed, they realised it required some rewriting to be successfully adapted for film. There are many aspects of the film that I definitely enjoyed better than the book. The movie had stronger and more dynamic characters along with a completely different (dare I say, better?) ending. 

Fight Club 

Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 offering, Fight Club was adapted to film by screenwriter Jim Uhl and director David Fincher three years later. This is one of the few instances where the book was greatly improved upon for the big screen.

The movie brings a deeper, more likeable dynamic to the characters and changes the ending dramatically in a masterful way. I thoroughly enjoyed the film version significantly more than this book—nothing to do with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton being its stars. But shhh…remember the first rule of Fight Club… 

Little Women

An absolute classic American novel, Little Women, written by Louisa May Alcott, was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. There have been countless film renditions and even TV shows based on the novel, but the most recent version is possibly the best and most accurate. Produced by Greta Gerwig and released in 2019, it doesn’t follow the book exactly, but it does capture its essence, drawing you in through magnificent storytelling and acting.

While it strays from accuracy, it gifts in detail and brings minor alterations for continuity or time’s sake. I grew up reading Little Women and felt quite nostalgic watching Gerwig’s version of this much-loved classic. 

Harry Potter 

Another enormous film and book franchise that took over the entertainment industry was the Harry Potter series. Written by J.K. Rowling, this series comprises seven books released over ten years from 1997-2007. Similarly, we were drip-fed the movies over a ten year period from 2001-2011, but they spoiled us and gave us eight parts!

Though there are several significant differences in these films too, there are enough positive changes that seem to balance out the negative. Nothing can really beat the thrill we got from reading each book and waiting for the next one to come out. Then we got to somewhat relive it by watching each movie, and eagerly anticipating the next instalment. But, if for some reason you missed out, read the books, then watch this iconic franchise. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! 

Since we are spending more time at home these days, most of us find ourselves watching more movies than usual. Maybe you’re looking for something to help pull yourself away from the TV? Perhaps you’re simply looking for more movie recommendations? Why not change it up a bit by adding to your reading list, then following up with the movie version and compare for yourself? If you start with this list, you will not be disappointed.