Whether I'm watching a movie by myself or with friends, I always end up spending more time choosing what to watch than actually watching it. I've devoted hours to scrolling through Netflix, not sure exactly what I'm looking for, just that it needs to be good enough to tear me away from my TBR pile. But with so many choices, how does a book-lover find the perfect movie to watch?
Naturally, if you're an avid reader, you probably want to suggest watching a movie adaptation of the last book you finished. But what if your friends haven’t read the book yet? Or what if you’ve already seen all the adaptations out there (hello, Jane Austen movies)? Or even worse… what if the adaptation you choose to watch isn’t accurate and you have to spend a few hours ranting about what should have been included?!
Never fear: there are a slew of non-adaptation films for book-lovers to enjoy that I have found from all my time searching for films to watch. From movies about fellow book-lovers, to literary-style adventures, to the inevitable meet cute in a bookstore, Hollywood has you covered. You can't help but enjoy these movies, because watching them is basically like having a conversation about books.
Gil Pender is working on his first novel, but it's not going very well. That is, until he is somehow transported back to 1920s Paris, where he meets Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein, among other artists. For readers (and writers) who have always wanted to travel back to the "good old days" of literature and art, this is the perfect film to watch.
Fading star Riggan Thomson tries to recapture his glory days as a Hollywood actor in this dramedy. He's working on a Broadway adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story, and readers will appreciate the literary references throughout the movie. Oh, and did I mention that it won an Oscar for best picture?
"When I was your age, television was called books." So says the grandfather in The Princess Bride, just before he begins to read one of the most epic stories ever to his grandson. This movie has a bit of everything (fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...), and if someone has ever shared a beloved book with you, you'll instantly relate.
Ever wanted to experience a literary romance? No, I don't mean a romance like in the books... I mean a romance that's centered around books: In You've Got Mail, two bookstore owners (one running a massive chain bookstore, the other a local indie shop) fall in love online, not realizing that they hate (or at least think they hate) each other in real life. What could happen next?? Hint: the answer involves lots of '90s technology...
After you watch You've Got Mail, check out this romantic comedy parody: They Came Together. At one point in the movie, Joel and Molly bond over the fact that they BOTH like fiction books — who would ever think that two people who like fiction books could somehow find one another?!
Can't get enough of romantic bookstore scenes? Try Funny Face : Audrey Hepburn plays a bookstore-owner-turned-fashion-model in this classic romance.
Suzy and Sam run away together and go on an adventure worthy of a novel, complete with Suzy's suitcase full of stolen library books. This quirky Wes Anderson film will make childhood book nerds totally nostalgic.
If you've ever thrown a book out the window because you were mad at the ending (haven't we all?), this is the movie for you. Pat tries to prove to his estranged wife that he's doing well by 1) exercising, 2) reading through the book list she assigns her students, and 3) competing in a dance competition with his new acquaintance Tiffany Maxwell. Literary references abound, as did the awards for this dramatic comedy.
Amélie is a quirky, withdrawn woman with a beautiful imagination. Readers who can't help but daydream every now and then will appreciate her attempts to discover the stories all around her in this artistic French film.
Andy Dufresne is sentenced to life in prison after his wife and her lover are found murdered. While in prison, he works to build up the library, acquiring funds to expand and provide books to the inmates. This movie is the perfect pick for readers who know that books can provide hope... and, as Andy says, hope is a good thing.
Have you ever felt that you're a character in a story? Have you ever actually heard a narrator describing your every action, confirming that you ARE a character in a story? Harold Crick, protagonist of this quirky comedy, has in fact experienced that.
Writing can be an overwhelming task for authors. Jack Torrance can confirm this.
No one appreciates a good book like Belle, and she knows not to judge a book by its cover. The only sad thing about this Disney classic is that the beast's library is animated, so you can't live there.
Based on the Shakespeare play The Taming of the Shrew, this teen comedy centers around Sylvia-Plath-reading Kat, and the mysterious Patrick Verona. Readers will appreciate the Shakespearean references, and writers will appreciate the principal's attempts to write a pretty scandalous book during school hours.
Remember college, when you could spend endless hours discussing your favorite poems and literature with other like-minded individuals? If you're nostalgic for those days, check out Liberal Arts: 35-year-old Jesse gets wrapped up in a relationship with 19-year-old college student Zibby. Bonus: there's a finding-love-in-a-bookstore moment, which never gets old.
What if the Brothers Grimm didn't make up all those fairy tales, but actually experienced them? That's the idea behind this fantasy film, which will definitely appeal to fans of the original, gruesome fairy tales.
Poetry! Music! Brooding writers! Moulin Rouge! has it all in this dark, sparkling, glamorous musical drama, perfect for readers who love fantasy, romance, and a stylized take on another time period.
Lost in Austen embodies a reader's ultimate dream: to actually fall into a book. 20th-century woman Amanda ends up in the world of Pride and Prejudice, swapping places with Elizabeth Bennet. It's a four-part TV series, so it's long enough for you to ask yourself a million times: why can't this be real??
Images: Sony Pictures Classics (1), Fox Searchlight Pictures (1), 20th Century Fox (1), Warner Bros (2), Lionsgate (1), Paramount (1), Focus Features (1), The Weinstein Company (1), UGC-Fox (1), Columbia Pictures (2), Walt Disney Pictures (1), Buena Vista Pictures (1), IFC Films (1), Miramax Films (1), 20th Century Fox (1), ITV (1)