We want to start off by saying that these books are not bad. In fact, every single one of these books are great reads and we recommend them.
We’re just saying that the directorial and screenwriter’s choices made these adaptations WAY better.
It’s rare and thus shocking when this happens, so here is our list of five instances where the movie was better than the book.
5. The Fault In Our Stars
This may be a controversial way to kick off this list- I know some John Green fans can be very… “loyal” (let’s put it that way).
The storyline is a truly heart-breaking story of love, understanding and appreciation between two cancer-afflicted teens. The book definitely captures the horrors of cancer, especially in the final few chapters where Augustus’ relapse exposes the harsh truths of how tormenting and ugly this illness can be.
But at the same time, the book feels like an extremely unrealistic depiction of teen life. Teenagers do not speak like Aristotle and Socrates, so just by omitting half of the existentialist monologues Gus and Hazel voice, already makes the movie slightly better in our opinion.
Plus, have you listened to the movie’s soundtrack?
4. Pride and Prejudice
We’re sure all Jane Austen fans can agree with us when we say Pride and Prejudice is not an example of her absolute best work. Though it’s probably the most famous classical 19th century novel, it really reads like an anti-climactic diary.
Albeit, and anti-climactic diary with good humour and great conflicts of interest, but nonetheless, in-between that is a lot of “fluff”.
The movie on the other hand, compresses all that “fluff” and concentrates on the love and relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, creating a beautiful and captivating storyline. Just read Mr. Darcy’s proposal in the novel and watch it in the movie and tell us the movie isn’t a thousand times more packed with romance and tension.
3.The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
This is a perfect example of when the expansion of a tight narrative is much needed and done just right.
The book is great, but the movie is better because of this narrative expansion: we get to see more of the protagonist Charlie’s thoughts and interactions, something which really benefits our understanding of the character.
A great example of this is the way we actually get to meet Charlie’s teacher Bill in the movie, whilst in the book, our knowledge of Bill is simply second-hand though Charlie’s account of him in his letter.
All in all, what truly makes the movie better than the book are the small directorial changes and shifts that Stephen Chbosky makes, even just the simple change of the song playing during the tunnel scene, creating a new hopeful tone.
Well done, Chbosky!
2. Silence Of The Lambs
The film is so good many people don’t even realise there is a book it is based on. And if you believe the film is great, the book will most certainly not leave you disappointed.
Thomas Harris’ novel remarkably captures the terror and hellish lifestyle of Hannibal Lecter. There’s a disturbing (but oddly comforting) quality of truth which feels authentic given Harris’ crime reporting background.
So if the book is so good, how can the movie be better?
It is undeniably hard to produce a screenplay adaptation based on a great novel (we’ve all seen ‘the girl on the train’) and not only do the book justice, but at the same time ensure that the direction and overall vision of the movie is something new and refreshing.
And this is exactly what Jonathan Demme achieved through his direction of this movie.
Not only is the casting phenomenal, with Anthony Hopkins’ chilling portrayal of Lecter and Jodie Comer’s powerful performance of Clarice Starling, but the Silence of the Lambs has almost become a household name, and it has the awards to show for it too!
1. Little Women
For many of us, Little Women was a book read to us as children. A book which taught us so many beautiful values and life lessons. A book which feels nostalgic and emotional.
A book that will forever hold a very special place in our hearts. A book which holds so much emotion, it would be very hard to replicate and transfer to visual form.
Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation of this book accomplished this and more. The film is beautiful, the casting even more so.
Gerwig’s storytelling style is seamlessly non-linear, with scenes from the past and present intertwined to create a nostalgic feeling, yet never leaving the viewer confused.
The use of different lighting to aid our understanding of the time shifts worked perfectly, leaving us with a sense of familiarity and cosiness.
Arguably the best Little Women adaptation to date (and there have been a few), this movie is a gracefully realised production!