5 of the best book-to-movie adaptations
Nothing satisfies like a good adaptation.
Seeing a book you love come to life on screen is a treat, especially when it’s done well – perfectly acted, wonderfully scored, and made even more atmospheric with the costumes and setting. Suddenly, the places and people you imagined at home with a paperback in your hand become real in startling detail.
But even if you’re unfamiliar with the source material, adaptations of good books virtually guarantee an expertly crafted plot. After all, if millions of people have already read and loved the novel, you can rest assured that the story is a good one.
So, in a crowded field, what are some of the best book-to-movie adaptations? Here are five that you can’t pass.
Where the Crawdads sing
The novel by Delia Owens Where the Crawdads sing was an instant hit that rocketed to the top of bestseller lists worldwide in 2018. It blended romance and murder-mystery to tell the story of Kya, a girl living off-grid in the Deep South who becomes suspicious in the murder of a man she once loved.
The twists and turns of the book made it ideal for a film adaptation. And while the source material is already great, Daisy Edgar-Jones’ lead performance helped make the film even better than the book.
The fact that it was produced by none other than the icon, Reese Witherspoon, and that the film’s original music came from Taylor Swift – who was such a big fan of the novel that she wanted to create an equally haunting song – is just an added bonus.
The devil wears Prada
The devil wears Prada was such a hit movie that you might have forgotten it was a book to begin with.
Author Lauren Weizer may have originated the character of Miranda Priestly — or, at least, based her on a certain real-life magazine editor — but it was Meryl Streep who made her iconic with her cold, withered and its impeccably frosty delivery of lines like “Flowers? For spring? Innovative.”
Add in the comedic efforts of Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci and a deliciously cruel Emily Blunt and you have a perfect adaptation. Now, can someone spell “Gabbana”?
Bridget Jones Diary
Bridget Jones Diary set the bar for rom-com adaptations in 2001. Today, over 20 years later, the film still holds up – scenes like Bridget Jones singing at home in her pajamas or arriving at the costume party as a Playboy Bunny are as adorable today as they were when the movie first hit screens.
We then had sequel adaptations Bridget Jones: The limit of reason and Bridget Jones’ baby, but the original reigns supreme. There’s still no better rewatch for Christmas Eve.
This is a testament to the source material that Little woman has not been adapted once but seven times. Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel had a number of early adaptations throughout the 1910s and 1930s, before the 1949 version which cast a young Elizabeth Taylor as Amy.
But the two big-screen versions we hold most dear are Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 feel-good classic, which featured the all-star cast of Winona Ryder, Claire Danes and Kirsten Dunst, and the Oscar-winning take on Greta Gerwig in 2019 directed by Saoirse Ronan. Both are perfect for a comforting — and, yes, at one point, heartbreaking — evening on the couch. March sisters forever.
The missing girl twist went down in history as one of the most shocking moments on page and screen.
The story of Nick Dunne and his wife Amy is just as gripping in Gillian Flynn’s novel as it is in David Fincher’s film adaptation. But the film version has the advantage of being expertly animated by its actors – Rosalind Pike is creepy as the titular lead and Ben Affleck is perfectly pitiful as the manipulated husband.
And all these years later, who can forget the image of Amy Dunne walking to her bloodied front door? An iconic scene and a reliable Halloween costume to boot.
Where The Crawdads Sing is now available for purchase and digital streaming.