The Best Book-to-Movie Adaptations

March 06, 2019

Back in October, my Aunt Megan posted on Facebook asking what people believed to be the BEST book-to-movie adaptations. As I've begun my 2019 Reading Challenge in Goodreads, I've kept Megan's question in the back of my mind. And so, I've decided to compile what I believe to be the best book-to-movie adaptations - including movies that outshone the books they were based upon.

Mary Poppins
Let me preface this by saying that there are eight Mary Poppins books and I have only read one. Unfortunately, I think that the Disney film adaptation and recent continuation are infinitely more magical than the Mary Poppins (1934) book. After watching Disney's Saving Mr. Banks, it pains me to write that - we get a huge insight in P.L. Travers's protection over and love for her characters, but, if anything, I think that Disney put her stories to shame. We wouldn't have the beloved Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins if it weren't for Dr. Travers, but her first Mary Poppins book left me confused, disconnected, and glad that it was over. This is one case where the movie outshone the book(s) it was based upon.

The Princess Diaries
When I was in middle school, my dad bought me one of those little TVs with a built-in VCR at a garage sale. By that point, VHS was near-obsolete, and I think we only owned three that I liked. One was The Princess Diaries. I would rotate between my three movies, and I hold all of them very near and dear to my heart. I've always identified with Anne Hathaway's portrayal of Princess Mia, so, in middle school, I read all of Meg Cabot's series that the film was based upon. I completely adore both the books and the movies about Mia Thermopolis. Each leaves me laughing, happy that I'm no longer 14-years-old, and in love with young adult media.

Have you noticed that I really like children's literature? Holes was another case where I saw the film before I read the book, but neither took away from the other. Louis Sachar created a peculiar story that you can't put down, and the 2003 movie adaptation is just the same. The casting is phenomenal and I just cringe thinking about all of the feet that have been in the shoes that Mr. Yelnats is testing. And how much of a rebellious icon is Patricia Arquette? It made me want a boy to break my heart just so I could show him. Y'know?

Pride and Prejudice (1995)
I know that this is a miniseries, not a film, but I'm adding it to this list. With the benefit of having six hours to do it justice, the BBC's Pride and Prejudice was able to include just about everything that Ms. Austen wrote in her still-popular-today novel. It was beautiful, magical, and made me fall in love with Jane Austen. Plus, Colin Firth played Mr. Darcy the year that I was born, and he's still hot. But that's neither here nor there...

Eat Pray Love
I'm a sucker for a good memoir, and Elizabeth Gilbert had me hooked from the getgo. Even though I was introduced to her book at just 18-years-old, I really felt what she was feeling as she went through her divorce and subsequently traveled the world to heal herself. In my opinion, Julia Roberts really does Liz justice in the film adaptation. It's beautiful seeing the places she traveled and the people that she met along her journey. What a meaningful experience she had. And any movie with handsome Javier Bardem? Sign me up!

Shannon Hale will forever be one of my favorite authors. Her works are unique and well-written, and she is just kind of a rockstar of a woman. Austenland and Midnight in Austenland both left me hopeful for my own Mr. Darcy and made me feel okay about my fangirling over books. The movie is just as - if not even more - magical. JJ Feild is handsome beyond belief, Jennifer Coolidge is awkward and witty, and Kerri Russel is the girl that all of us Anglophiles relate to. It will always be one of my favorite films and a book that I recommend to anyone who loves Austen like I do.

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