The Definitive Rundown Of The Best Book To Film Adaptations, Ever

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  • Here’s Marie Claire’s pick of the best page-to-screen adaptations…and some that are worth remembering for, er, other reasons…

    Okay this is the thing. Sometimes you want to read a book, sometimes you want to watch a movie. But sometimes you sort of want both.

    That’s where adaptations come in – movies or TV dramas of books we know and love are always hugely popular, partly because despite the thrill of the new what many of us really want is to snuggle down and watch something we already know we’re going to enjoy. (It’s the same logic we use when ordering in our favourite restaurant – you mean to try something new but you know if you do you might be disappointed, so you go with the one dish you’ve loved for ages, knowing it will deliver.) Psychologists even have a phrase for it (anticipatory pleasure).

    Which is great – as long as the film or TV adaptation delivers. But when it doesn’t – oh my. Then all hell can break loose. Because what kind of massacre is this on the screen for god’s sake? Changed endings, miscast actors (One Day/ Anne Hathaway/ Yorkshire accent – can’t go there, too painful), it’s a minefield out there.

    And then there’s the tone or spirit of the book. Does the screen adaptation capture it? Like the Golden Compass, based on Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights, the first in a trilogy that’s steeped in religious references. The film was just one action sequence after another, even Nicole Kidman’s golden-haired monkey (aka her daemon/ soul) that sat on her shoulder throughout looked like he didn’t have a clue what he was doing in this film.

    But occasionally directors, screenwriters and actors get it right. And then a sort of magic happens in which the book you read and imagined comes to life. Happy days.

    Here’s Marie Claire’s pick of the best page-to-screen adaptations, and some that are worth remembering for, er, other reasons?

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