While I usually go into a book-to-film adaptation with the caveat that “the book is better,” I’m always hopeful that the movie will do the book justice.
Here are the adaptations I managed to see this year:
Big Little Lies
Book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
How I Watched: HBO On Demand
- While I didn’t actually read this book, I read two other books by Moriarty, so I felt like I knew this would be another mystery thriller with lots of characters and storylines intertwining. This mini-series was fantastic – I mean, the cast alone knocked my socks off: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoë Kravitz, just to name a few. Each episode, I thought a different person was the killer and the victim! It kept me guessing all the way to the end. I highly recommend this one (but for grown-ups! Even though Zoe and Shailene are in this one, this is NOT a YA series).
Book: The Circle by Dave Eggers
How I Watched: Amazon Prime, Kindle Fire
- I read the book and watched the movie shortly after. I was a little disappointed by the film, because I was hoping it would more clearly illustrate the dangers of social media giants and privacy rights. The movie wasn’t quite creepy enough or as satirical as the book. The book brings up important questions that we’ll have to answer as we become more and more reliant on technology: Where do you draw the line between keeping people safe and allowing people to remain free? Where do you draw the line between endless amounts of data and being able to quantify it and really use it for good? Where do you draw the line between public and private? The movie didn’t feel quite as thought-provoking, and I’m not sure why that was.
Book: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
How I Watched: HBO
- This movie stays pretty true to the book. It even figured out how to film conversations where the characters aren’t even in the same room in interesting and artsy ways. I even liked how the film cut out a part that I found unnecessary in the book! I’d tell you what part it is, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. So, if you liked the book, I think you’ll like the movie, too.
Crazy Rich Asians
Book: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
How I Watched: In the movie theater *gasp* with my husband!
- Again, I haven’t read the book yet, but the movie was so delightful that I plan on reading this series in the future. The movie was just so cute and highly enjoyable. I loved Henry Golding as Nick Young – I can’t wait to see him in more movies. It’s hard to believe that this was his first movie. I also loved seeing Michelle Yeoh from the Memoirs of a Geisha movie. She’s so stunning and regal in this film. What surprised me the most about this film was the music. There were well-known pop songs, but some parts were sung in Chinese, among other languages. I just love multicultural inclusiveness! In one scene, a bride walked down the most dreamy aisle to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and it was gorgeous. I highly recommend this film and hope there will be a sequel.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Book: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
How I Watched: Netflix (thanks to my sister)
- Ok, so I’ve been a fan of this series for a long time – even creating my own casting suggestions way back in 2015. I also gushed about the books here. And here. So I was bummed when the movie skipped the theaters and went to Netflix because I don’t have Netflix! Frustrating! Luckily, my sister has an account, so I finally got to watch the movie in September. The film was not as light and bubbly as the books. Lara Jean was more serious than I imagined her, and she didn’t do near enough baking. But the actor chosen to play Peter Kavinsky did a better job than I expected, and I adored John Corbett as the dad. So, I was personally a tiny bit disappointed, but also happy that so many other people loved it.
Book: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
How I Watched: HBO On Demand
- I read this book years ago, because like many others, I read Gone Girl and had to read all of Gillian Flynn’s other novels, too. Flynn is a smart, crazy writer, so if her name is attached to a project, you know you’re in for quality work with twists and darkness. The mini-series was just as creepy and chilling as I remembered, but felt much too slow and disjointed. I just wanted everything to happen faster. Since I’d read the story so many years ago, I actually couldn’t remember “whodunit,” so the series was just as suspenseful for me as the first time around.
Did you see any of these adaptations? What were your thoughts?