There's always something you love that they leave out: either the casting is wrong, or they change the ending of the book (My Sister's Keeper, anyone?) and most of the time, they never quite capture the atmosphere of the book which – in turn – means they often fail to deliver the very essence that the author was striving for.
While I still feel this way about most book-to-film adaptations, I have to admit that every now and then, one such movie will surprise me with its interpretation.
Take One Day for instance. This is probably one of my top 5 favourite reads, so I was understandably nervous when I went to the screening last week. I went in with no expectations, and left the cinema feeling astonished and decidedly happy.
While the movie certainly had its share of flaws, the fact that author David Nicholls actually adapted his book to screenplay certainly made a difference. I could watch the film and actually remember why I loved the initial reading experience.
With his trademark witty dialogue, the movie not only reminded me once again how clever the plot is, but the different settings and format followed the book pretty closely and made me feel as if I was reading the novel on screen.
We asked you to share your favourites – here are some of your responses to this month's newsletter.
Without question Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. The book is fabulous, and Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson are brilliant in the movie. Atonement runs a close second.
The book The French Lieutenant’s Woman written by John Fowler tops my list. It exceeded all my expectations. In his screen adaption Karel Reisz, clearly contrasted Victorian and modern day moral standards, with hardly any notable difference. The fact that they used exceptional actors and beautiful cinematography naturally contributed to a great movie, which ran true to its book!
I found the book Bridget Jones diary to be long, drawn out and frankly boring, however the movie was brilliant fun. Much, much better than the book. The Runaway Jury (John Grisham) was also another movie that I preferred to the book.
The first movie I thought of was The Green Mile by Stephen King. I do adore Mr King, and although I usually refrain from watching his stuff (way too gory for my tastes) - this movie was really one that made the book come to life. The little mouse and big black John Coffey was brilliant, and Tom Hanks did a good job of telling the story.
I remember being pleasantly surprised when I saw the movie of The World According to Garp. The story had been tweaked quite a lot to fit into a movie, but it was very satisfying all the same.
Cold Mountain was pretty amazing. The book was so beautifully written and the film captured that. I didn't think it would be able to.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The film was as emotionally harrowing and as real as the book.
I often find that it’s best to first see the movie and then read the book; that you get more the second time around rather than less! You also don’t end up thinking “NO! He / she doesn’t look like that!”
Some good books to movies that I can recall...
• The World According To Garp
• The History Boys
• The recent Bang Bang club (except for “Kevin Carter’s” dreadful Ozzie accent! Do they really think we sound like that??!)
What are some of your favourite book-to-movie adaptations? Share them with us below.
Of course, our list wouldn't be complete if we didn't compile a list of the worst film adaptations based on books. Head on over here and join in on that debate.