When it comes to reading, your imagination takes control. You imagine the characters, their hair, clothes, mannerisms, even the sound of their voice. And no matter how descriptive the author might be, you will always see things your own way. But when books are turned into movies and films, I often find myself really torn. If these page to screen adaptations haven’t come out looking, sounding, musically dancing around like I imagined in-between the pages of a favourite book, I’m always sorely disappointed. In turn, I find it often ruins the book for me too! But sometimes, sometimes they really get it right.
As great as it is to curl up with a good book, sometimes we want to get lost in the imagery on a big bright screen, like the 4K beauty that is the Panasonic Oled TV. I have discovered so many books through seeing the film first and am always amazed when, at times, the films actually turn out better than the books - but that doesn’t happen often!
Here’s a quick run down of my good, bad and ugly when it comes to books that have been turned into movies!
Angelas Ashes - Frank McCourt
I remember being in my early teens when I picked this book up, I’m pretty sure I found it on the sale table in Wilkos. I was deeply obsessed with reading about poor, unfortunate kids and that sad little face staring out at me from the cover had me hooked. The book was a downright emotional rollercoaster, I’d never read about still births, miscarriages and dying children before and blimey, did it takes it’s toll. I remember shedding a few tears under the covers as I read late into the night. A film version starring Robert Carlyle and a very young, Devon Murray came out in 99’ and I was so excited. It’s was one of the first books I had read first before seeing the film and I had such a clear image in my head, of the kids, the parents, the setting. Everything. This was also my first introduction into the liberties and short cuts film makers take! The film was everything I didn’t want it to be.
Book vs Film = Book wins!
The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
Lets be honest, if you don’t cry at The Notebook film, who even are you? I have watched that film so many times and still, I cry my friggin eyes out! Like my emotion can somehow effect the outcome! I saw the film before reading the book, and, already well versed in book to film creations, I was expecting the book to hands down, blow me away. It didn’t. It had nothing to do with me knowing what was coming, the film really does mirror the book quiet well, right up until the end. Those last few pages were about as painful to read as the Harry Potter epilogue (don’t even get me started on that!). The plot naffed off to the pub and the book did it’s best to finish itself but failed miserably.
Book vs Film = Film wins!
The Five People you Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
Oh this book! I went on a huge Mitch Albom binge for a few years and this was the first, and a tie for first place (Tuesdays with Morrie, you beautiful book you) book of his that I read, multiple times. It was such an interesting, heart warming and beautifully written read. I never actually knew there was a film version made until a few years later. On holiday in Florida, bad weather drove us indoors one night, so we went down to the main house on the complex to rent a DVD to watch that night. As soon as I saw this in the collection I had to watch it, all that love I had for the book came rushing back and I was beyond excited to relive those moments. The films wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Very much a Lifetime afternoon TV movie, it was sweet, but after reading the book, it missed out on so many little moments and character interactions that I just couldn’t forgive it for.
Book vs Film = Book wins!
Me before You - Jojo Moyes
I was going to watch the film first but so many people told me to read the book first so I did. It got me. Oh it got me good style. I actually finished reading it in work one afternoon and had to hide in the loos for 10 minutes whilst I sobbed over the ending. I could probably count on one hand the books that have had such a heartbreaking effect on me and this was certainly one of them. Thinking I had cried all I could over the book, clever clogs me decided to watch the film on the plane to America last year. A mistake was made. About halfway through a huge lump formed in my throat and that was that. I sobbed away in the middle of the aeroplane cabin, barely able to see the final scene through my tears.
Book vs Film = Tie!
Where Rainbows End - Cecelia Ahern
This was the first book by Cecelia Ahern I ever read and I have since, read everything she has written. Hands down, one of my all time favourite authors and this book, oh! I picked this up in the airport one year, intrigued by the premise and the style, a book written entirely in notes, emails, letters and text messages. I started it on the plane and couldn’t put it down. I remember being in Florida and actually looking forward to going back to the hotel during the day to carry on reading it. I was so wrapped up in the relationship of Rosie and Alex, if I wasn’t reading about the book, I was thinking about it, I even remember dreaming about it! Then, 10 years after publication, the film version, titled Love, Rosie came out. How do you take texts and emails and turn them into a visual film? Well you do, and you don’t. The film was good, I can’t deny that, I might have whimpered a little but the book, the book was something else. I found the two to be so different that I just can’t consider Love, Rosie an adaptation of such a beloved book.
Book vs Film = Book wins! (Because the film just isn’t the book!)
Are you more of a book person or a film person? What’s one of your favourite page to screen adaptations?
Until next time,