Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon selects some of her favourite book to film adaptations…
Sense and Sensibility: this surprisingly faithful adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved story was transformed into a film with the help of Emma Thompson’s screenplay for which she went on to win an Oscar for. The film retains the spirit and highlights perfectly the complexity of various relationships that is so perfectly described in the source material.
Stardust: based on Neil Gaiman’s 1999 novel of the same name, this film is a gloriously modern fairytale filled with pirates, witches and romance. Yes, there are a few differences from the original book, yet this is still such an entertaining and enjoyable adaptation it really doesn’t matter.
The Other Boleyn Girl: as someone with a deep fascination for Tudor history, I fell in love with the way in which Philippa Gregory brought these characters to life. Yes some artistic license is taken perhaps (but given there are so many conflicting pieces of evidence about what these characters are like it isn’t really an issue), but it is a story that captures the rivalries of court and translates perfectly into this film. It is a gripping and intense film- even though you know how it ends.
The Hobbit: I always preferred The Hobbit to Lord of the Rings in terms of the story and the charm that it has about it – which is certainly the case even with the films. Perhaps there didn’t need to be three films to tell this story and some of the embellishments don’t quite sit well, but the characterisations and the way in which the story ultimately unfolds is really something special.
The Wizard of Oz: as well as the characters, reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book as a child I really loved the places in Oz that Dorothy visited on her way to see the wonderful Wizard of Oz – some of which sadly didn’t make it into the film. The film (particularly for its time) was a really dazzling and mesmerising experience to sit through and still is today. A real timeless classic.
The Princess Bride: this quirky fairytale by William Goldman made me laugh the first time i read it, as did the film when I finally got around to watching it a few years later. The combination of quirky characters and the extraordinary situations that they find themselves in is equally appealing whether on page or screen.
The Devil Wears Prada: how far would you go to get a job that you really wanted? This 2003 novel by Lauren Weisberger offers a sharp, brutal but also funny look about what it is like to work at a fashion magazine (although how accurate it is I don’t know!) fully deserved to be transformed into a film. Meryl Streep offers one of her best performances as Miranda Priestly an extremely demanding magazine editor as well as being surrounded by other well thought out performances from the rest of the cast.
Atonement: as equally heartbreaking to watch as it is to read, this film directed by Joe Wright and based on Ian McEwan’s book shows just how powerful storytelling can be and can work just as well on screen. Everything about this film adaptation just works – the performances, the beautiful score and the way the story is so faithfully recreated makes it mesmerising.
Bridget Jones’s Diary: Helen Fielding’s more contemporary inspired version of Pride and Prejudice works as well on screen as on paper mainly because of its central character being so immensely relatable. No matter what goes wrong, Bridget manages to keep going through life in her own way and is a wonderful reminder that perhaps there is no right way to go through life.
Matilda: as a child reading Roald Dahl’s story, Matilda is a character that I could relate to – well in terms of loving my books anyway. She was a bright, sparky heroine who stood for no nonsense particularly from adults. I really loved the way in which this film brought the characters so vividly to life as well as some of the more hilarious incidents that take place throughout and still remains a favourite film today.
By Emma Clarendon