7 Book-to-Movie Adaptations You Have to See and Where to Stream Them
People always say the book is better, but these movies bring the words to life.
With so many streaming services nowadays, deciding what movie to watch can be overwhelming. If you're a reader though, it's a dream come true when you hear that a book you loved is heading to the big-screen. Sometimes movies don't do the book justice, but other times it's five out of five stars for the film. There's no better feeling than when the pages come to life and the cast is exactly how you pictured the characters. We picked out seven of the best book-to-movie adaptations streaming now to ensure your next movie night isn't a bust.
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Enola Holmes (1 and 2)
She's on the case! If you love a strong female lead, plus a bit of humor sprinkled in, there's no better option than the two Enola Holmes movies streaming on Netflix, based on the book series of the same name. Millie Bobby Brown takes on the titular role of the detective who's trying to escape her brother's shadow and make a name for herself by solving her own cases, and she brings Nancy Springer's beloved character to life with ease. (She's no stranger to dealing with some strange things.)
With a star-studded cast including Henry Cavill as Enola's famous brother Sherlock, and Helena Bonham Carter as their mother, plus the perfect blend of intrigue, action, and romance, tuning in to this one is an easy decision to make.
Although the film is set in Victorian England, which can come across as a bit uptight, Henry Bradbeer, the director of the film, "brings an infectious energy to this stuffy setting by having Enola break the fourth wall from the get-go with amusingly self-aware asides," according to a review on RogerEbert.com.
While the first film is delightful, the sequel packs a punch and dives into the anticipated action right away. You don't want to miss out on these two!
As someone who doesn't watch horror movies, (because I will hide the whole time) but loves to read a good book in the thriller genre, the Gone Girl film is perfect because it gives a little bit of that dark and twisty vibe without going over-the-top on the fear factor.
"With a screenplay by the novelist herself, David Fincher's film of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn's twisty, nasty and sensational best-seller, is a sharply made, perfectly cast, and unfailingly absorbing melodrama," said a review from the Hollywood Reporter.
Following a couple that looks happy on the outside, the movie starring Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne and Rosamund Pike as his missing wife Amy, that you can watch on HBO MAX, shatters the illusion of a perfect marriage and uncovers secrets that no one was expecting.
The movie follows the book pretty closely and it'll leave you on the edge of your seat even if you've read it. And if you haven't, your mind will be reeling by the end of the story.
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To The All the Boys I've Loved Before Trilogy
If you need a swoony feel-good rom-com, reminiscent of the 80's classics, then the To All The Boys I've Loved Before trilogy is the perfect choice. These Netflix films based on the series by Jenny Han follow Lara Jean (Lana Condor) as she navigates high school and falls in love for the first time. When she was younger, she wrote letters she never sent to boys she had crushes on, but when they ultimately get sent out during her junior year of high school, she's forced to confront her feelings face-to-face.
A review on RogerEbert.com describes Lara Jean as "relatably adorkable, smart but shy, missing her late mom but super-close to her two sisters and her doctor dad." While both the books and movies are marketed for a young adult audience, anyone will enjoy the relatable characters and themes.
These are the movies I go to if I'm looking for a pick-me-up, plus the cast and the soundtrack amp up those warm and fuzzy feelings that the books do so well.
The Hate You Give
Another film that was meant for a YA crowd, but adults should watch as well, is The Hate You Give. Based on the book by Angie Thomas, the movie follows Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) after she witnesses an old friend get wrongfully shot by a police officer. Available on Hulu, the movie is heavy and offers a realistic lens into America's current political climate.
The Guardian points out Starr's struggle as she attempts to live a double life with moments where she's a black girl from a tough neighborhood and moments where she has to shift her mannerisms and language to culturally pass as white when she attends prep school. "It is [a] muscular and very watchable film, with a really strong starring performance from Stenberg."
While this adaptation takes its liberties to be more fitting for the screen, the message that comes across is just as meaningful. It's one of those movies that will sit with you long after you watch it.
From the newspaper to the page to the screen, the film She Said is based on the book She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement that journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor wrote about their experience uncovering Harvey Weinstein's history of sexual abuse for the New York Times. Both the book and film share behind-the-scenes information, uncover important truths, and document how the victims decided to come forward, which in turn, sparked the #MeToo movement.
Now streaming on Peacock, the film directed by Maria Schrader is nothing short of intense. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan take on the roles of Twohey and Kantor. Described as a "quiet thriller," a New York Times review says, "measured and deliberate, the film avoids grandstanding, speaking in low tones where another movie might shout."
Even though this is biographical and a bit slower paced, the drama is there—especially since it's a true story. But knowing how it ends doesn't take away the suspense. The shots and angles used are deliberate and the visuals on-screen only amplify the magnanimous effects that the original narrative produced. This powerful story will undoubtedly always be relevant.
Known as the Dune saga by Frank Herbert to its readers, the first book in the immersive collection made waves with its on screen adaptation. The cast was chock-full of beloved actors including Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa and more, and they all help bring Herbert's Sci-Fi vision to life. Which has proved to be no small feat: Three previous attempts to get this book on the big-screen were all abandoned and unfinished.
"With Dune, Villeneuve and his co-writers, Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth, have made a lucid adaptation of a book that's long been deemed unfilmable," a review from NPR.org mentions.
The movie centers on Paul Atreides (Chalamet), a man who's destined to travel to a dangerous planet to ensure future safety for his family and people, and it pulls you into the world with ease.
While we're anxiously awaiting part two, you can stream this one on HBO MAX or take a deep dive into the series, which has seven installments to keep you occupied.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Dare I say that this movie adaptation might be better than the book itself? I do. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on the book of the same name, Logan Lerman plays Charlie, a high schooler who's pretty lonely until Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller) pull him into their friend group. While the film does dive into some intense subjects, there is a certain lightheartedness and camaraderie about it that never gets old.
You can watch it on Hulu, but fair warning, you should have the tissues ready. "Charlie will show you that high school can be enjoyed if you have the right friends and becoming a teenager isn't as scary as you think, even though it seems that way," said a review from The Guardian.