You may or may not know that I’m a self-confessed literature nerd. I study it, I read outside of my studies and books are basically my life. This being said, I am not one of those literature lovers that despise film adaptions of novels, in fact I get so excited about them. I thought I’d use this post to talk about five of my favourite book adaption, to show you how wonderful they are and maybe even to change the minds of some of the sceptics.
1. First up is my all time favourite novel The Great Gatsby (TGG) by F Scott Fitzgerald. The film adaption I will be talking about is the 2013 Baz Luhrmann production. With TGG being my absolute favourite book ever, there was a lot of pressure on this film to live up to my expectations and I was so nervous before I watched it, but it actually exceeded my expectations. I had seen productions by Luhrmann before (one will be discussed later in the post) so I knew the cinematography would be amazing, but I doubted whether it would stay true to the book; but it did. The actors and actresses cast were out of this world, exactly how I’d imagined. The book had obviously been researched extremely in depth. I could not recommend this film enough but PLEASE, read the book first or you’re doing yourself an injustice.
2. Next up is the 1992 film adaption of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights with Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche. Binoche and Fiennes are exactly how I imagined Heathcliff and Cathy. I have seen many screen adaptions of this novel (also another of my favourites) and the others don’t even come close to how well cast these two were. I cried as much in this screen version as I did in the novel. Amazing, truly amazing.
3. Next up is Atonement by Ian McEwan. The film adaption features the wonderful Keira Knightly and James McAvoy among other big names. I actually saw this film before reading the book, and I’m so glad I did otherwise I may never have read the book. This adaption is beautiful, McAvoy’s performance is captivating and heartbreaking all at the same time. Also, it is because of this film that I just can not stand to look at Benedict Cumberbatch (I won’t give too much away but his character here is a piece of sh*t). That aside, it is a phenomenal film and would recommend it to anyone, BUT BRING TISSUES.
4. Next up is another Baz Luhrmann film, this time it’s his adaption of Romeo and Juliet (I know this is a play but let’s just pretend ok). I adore the other version of this film, too, directed by Franco Zeffirelli (1968), but this version just has the edge. The way they bring it to the modern day in the setting of it is so unique, like something I have never seen before. Luhrmann is innovative in his films, and this is no exception. Leonardo DiCaprio is wonderful in this (he looks pretty wonderful, too) and he and Claire Danes are the perfect on screen partnership. I watched this while studying Romeo and Juliet at GCSE and I can certainly see why. As sophisticated as this adaption is, it can make Shakespeare’s play more enjoyable and accessible for a young and less experienced readership (totally not dissing Shaky by the way, I love him). Please please read the play (or see it) and watch this film to compare…you won’t regret it.
5. Last up is Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, based on Stephen King’s novel. Now, this is one of those rare circumstances where I prefer the film adaption to the actual book. I actually couldn’t finish the book, I am currently a quarter of the way through and do intend to finish it but because I saw the film first (yes this was probably not a good idea) I just couldn’t quite get into the book. The two are quite different, from what I can tell so far, and from looking at essays comparing the two online, the film version is the most interesting to me. Jack Nicholson is truly outstanding in this, as is Shelley Duvall who gives a chilling performance. If anyone has read the book fully please please convince me to read on, tell me it gets better!
And that’s a wrap for now. What are your favourite film adaptions of novels? What do you prefer -the book or the film?
If you liked this booky post, be sure to check out this post, too.
Love Rach xoxo