Even though I always love the book best, I’m a huge fan of book-to-movie adaptations. After all, who doesn’t enjoy seeing characters come to life on the big screen? A film version of a book can often be a perfect complement to its literary counterpart, and I admit that I enjoy reading the book and watching the movie immediately afterwards.
In terms of film adaptations, there are the big-budget studio films based on insanely popular bestsellers that you can’t miss hearing about, such as the upcoming wizarding world film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them . But there are also smaller films, which may be independent, or based on books that aren’t as well known. And you might miss hearing about these.
Recently, this happened to me. I read a book and really enjoyed it, and then thought, this book would make an excellent movie! I wonder if anyone’s going to adapt it soon? I looked it up online, only to find that it had already been made into a movie. What? How did I miss that?? The discovery soon led me down a rabbit hole of amazing movies based on books that I didn’t see talked about as much. So here are some hidden gems to watch when you’re in a literary mood:
1. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
The quirky story of a family of performance artists was made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman. I was obsessed with this strange gem of a book, and didn't even realize that it had been turned into a film and released recently. You can now watch it on Starz Digital.
2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
You've seen Gone Girl, but did you know that Gillian Flynn's book Dark Places has also been adapted into a film? This extremely dark thriller stars Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult. If you can handle this terrifying story, watch this one while waiting for The Girl on the Train to come out this fall.
3. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
I recently read this thriller, because I am impatiently waiting for The Girl on the Train to come to theaters soon, and have subsequently been reading a lot of thrillers to trick myself into being patient. This story of a woman who wakes up every morning with memory loss was so intriguing, and I didn't even realize it had been made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. Definitely worth a watch.
4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Oh how I love beautiful period dramas, especially when they're based on classic works of literature! This adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary stars Mia Wasikowska and is just as cinematically beautiful as you would imagine.
5. Testament Of Youth by Vera Brittain
Want to bawl your eyes out? Watch this film based on the memoir of Vera Brittain, a British writer and nurse during World War I. It stars the talented Alicia Vikander and Game of Thrones' Kit Harrington, and will make you feel EVERY EMOTION.
6. The Driftless Area by Tom Drury
Zooey Deschanel stars in the adaptation of Tom Drury's novel, which tells the story of a bartender named Pierre who falls in love with a mysterious girl named Stella. You can watch this dramedy on demand. P.S.: Alia Shawkat and Aubrey Plaza are also in it.
7. The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Based on Dostoyevsky's novella about a man who encounters his doppelgänger, this film stars Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowkska. It's quirky and strange and and darkly comedic, and it's on Netflix, y'all.
8. Into The Forest by Jean Hegland
This dystopian novel is set in the near-future. It is a haunting, feminist tale about two sisters trying to survive as contemporary civilization ends. It stars Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood and will definitely appeal to fans of dystopian stories like The Handmaid's Tale.
9. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Bundren family makes their way across Mississippi in order to bury matriarch Addie in this classic Faulkner novel. James Franco adapted it into a film... because of course he did.
10. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Eddie Redmayne stars as Stephen Wraysford, a soldier during World War I, in the BBC adaptation of this classic novel. It's technically a two-part TV serial, not a film, but that just means that there's even more to watch.
11. Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
This film was a limited release, and since I was out of town when it aired at my local theater, I had to drive over an hour to see it in a different city. And it was so worth it! This adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel about the farmer Bathsheba Everdene and her three suitors is beautiful and dramatic and you should go watch it right now.
Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures (1)