Even the most avid book-lovers sometimes have to set down their latest reads and settle for the next best thing: a book-to-movie adaptations. It's rare to find a movie that actually does its source material justice, but when done properly, a movie can actually make you love the book even more.
Besides, sometimes, when you need the comfort of one of your favorite books but you don't have time for a re-read, adaptations can bring the world to life around you without any effort on your part. Watching a movie based on a book can feel like coming home in a way.
And there are of course those times when you find a great new read by falling in love with the movie first. Movies are a great way to dip your toes in the water and discover something new.
Plus, movies do have one thing on books: you can watch them with other people. Some of the greatest afternoons of my life have been spent gathered around the TV, enjoying the Lord of the Rings films with my friends. Or the countless nights I've spent snuggled on the couch with my roommate, watching the Harry Potter movies with a big bowl of popcorn. Books are an amazing way to experience a story on your own, but with movies, you can experience a story together.
So, if you're hankering for something bookish to watch, here are some excellent movies based on books that you can had to your Netflix queue right now.
This award-winning film was based on the nonfiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. The film, which stars Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Lion tells the story of a young Indian boy who becomes lost on the streets of Calcutta, and is ultimately adopted by an Australian family. Twenty five years later, he sets out on a journey to find his birth parents.
Based on the classic Emma by Jane Austen, this 1996 adaptation starring Gwyneth Paltrow is a favorite amongst Austen fans. Emma Woodhouse is a plucky, independent, and wealthy woman who loves to play matchmaker. But her efforts lead to a heaping helping of drama and chaos.
'Bridget Jones's Diary'
This is one of my personal faves. Based on the books by Helen Fielding, which are in turn a spin of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, this 2001 movie starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant is just so much fun. Bridget Jones is a spunky Londoner determined to get her life together in the new year and find a "proper boyfriend."
Based on the book by Louis Sachar, this 2003 classic movie stars Shia Lebeouf, Sigourney Weaver, and Jon Voight. When Stanley Yelnats gets sent to Camp Greenlake, a detention camp for boys in the middle of the desert in which campers dig holes all day, he discovers that Camp Greenlake is filled with secrets. (Plus, who can resist that original theme song?)
'The Secret Garden'
This 1993 film was a personal favorite of mine when I was a kid. Based on the classic book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden tells the story of a young girl is orphaned and sent to her uncle's estate, where she befriends a sickly boy and discovers a hidden garden.
'To Kill a Mockingbird'
This classic is widely considered to be one of the best adaptations ever. Made in 1962 and starring Gregory Peck, this adaptation of the classic by Harper Lee is set in small town Alabama in 1932 as a black man goes on trial for rape. Meanwhile, scrappy youngsters Scout and her brother Jem's misadventures teach them a valuable lesson on prejudice.
Starring Keira Knightly and James McAvoy, this 2007 adaptation of the novel by Ian McEwan is an excellent watch. When 13-year-old aspiring writer Briony Tallis sees her older sister Cecilia with Robbie Turner, she misinterprets the situations, setting off a series of misunderstandings.
This 2012 adaptation of the classic novel by Leo Tolstoy (with a screenplay by the amazing Tom Stoppard) is gorgeous. Keira Knightley plays Anna Karenina, an aristocrat in late-19th century Russian high society, who engages in a life-altering affair with Count Alexei Vronsky.
Based on the novel by Alice Hoffman, this 1998 film tells the story of two witch sisters (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) raised by their aunts in an eccentric small town, as they face a curse that threatens to prevent them from ever finding true love.
'Never Let Me Go'
Kazuo Ishiguro just won the Nobel Prize for Literature, which makes it a wonderful time to dive into this 2010 adaptation of his beloved novel, Never Let Me Go. Starring Keira Knightly, Carey Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield, this is the breathtaking story of three friends looking back on their days in a seemingly idyllic boarding school.
You probably remember the uproar when this mind-bending movie came out in 2006, starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. Based on a novel by Christopher Priest, this is the thrilling story of two rival magicians as they try to outwit each other to create the perfect illusion.
Who can resist hanging out with teen private eye Nancy Drew? Based on the classic books by Caroline Keene, this 2007 film stars Emma Roberts as the clever detective as she investigates the murder of a movie star.