When books are made into movies, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. We asked Globe readers on Facebook and Twitter for some of the good, bad and downright ugly adaptations they've seen.
The Handmaid's Tale was the only Atwood book I've ever managed to read completely. It was a really good read, but the movie was a dud. The story was most likely too deep to work as a movie. Most people go to movies to be entertained. Who needs a movie that's going to haunt them for years to come? I'd initially bought the book for my mother and she stated it was weird; she'd read lightweight Harlequins most of her life.
Boys From Brazil was really badly done. You'd never understand what was going on if you hadn't read the book. And I think the movies of the Harry Potter series are a sad representation. The characterizations were phenomenal, but so much detail was left out. All of them could have been double films.
The Confessions of a Shopaholic movie was terrible. The books were good, fluffy chick-lit, but the movie changed way too much of what was good about the books.
The Help started well, and the performances were superb, but there were too many poor script/directorial choices at the end that almost spoiled the movie. Still worth watching, with caveat. In the other direction, the film of Eat, Pray, Love improved on the book.
The English Patient and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are examples of great book-to-movie adaptations: excellent films based upon brilliant novels, and while both films certainly share a lot in common with their source material, the movies are nonetheless very, very different. As a result, the films can stand independently: you never hear “Have you read the book? It's so much better!” when discussing these films.
Anh Khoi Do
An adaptations that could've been better is Denis Villeneuve's Incendies. It had a nice script. Unfortunately, the viewing experience is marred by bad casting. The three leads – who are supposed to be Arabs – are two Québécois and a Belgian.
I remember going to see My Sister's Keeper the day after I finished the book and I was supremely disappointed. It was a poignant read, and the movie totally ruined everything special about the story.
Mary Holmes Dague
The best adaptation of a play is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? To Kill a Mockingbird is a great adaptation. The English Patient is weird – very different from the book – but I liked both. Beckett was an excellent adaptation of a play.
David Brin's The Postman is one of my favourite books, with its exploration of how individuals survive in a post-apocalyptic time, and what they may become in this struggle to preserve something of humanity. Kevin Costner's film version was an abomination, completely losing the complexities of the novel, especially the exploration of what it means to believe in civilization in the midst of its collapse.
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