Adapting a compelling novel into an equally fantastic film is no easy task and requires great skill, sensitivity, direction and execution. Some of the challenges include how to stay true to the source yet also understand what to leave in and what to take out. Karma Group Literary Luminary and founder of Ultimate Library, Philip Blackwell, shares five great novels that were successfully transformed into movies.
1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Revamping the classic tale by Louisa May Alcott is Greta Gerwig’s new adapation features Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet, with other famous cast members including Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, Florence Pugh and Laura Dern. The American classic is truly brought to life in Gerwig’s fascinating rendition of the infamous March sisters.
2. If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
Barry Jenkin’s film won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director and Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (awarded to Regina King) among a myriad of other awards and nominations. Based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of a young couple in Harlem, whose dreams of a future together are cut short when he is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. A tale of love, dedication and hope, this story was retold in 2018, striking a chord with viewers due to the current political climate.
3. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Ishiguro’s novel won the 1989 Booker Prize and was later adapted into the 1993 film of the same name which was nominated for 8 Academy Awards. The protagonist, Stevens, is a butler with a long record of service at Darlington Hall, a stately home near Oxford, England. In 1956, he takes a road trip to visit a former colleague and reminisces about events at Darlington Hall in the 1920s and 1930s.
4. Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
The novel centres on a blossoming romantic relationship between an intellectually precocious and curious 17-year-old American-Italian Jewish boy named Elio Perlman and a visiting 24-year-old American Jewish scholar named Oliver in 1980s Italy. Guadagnino’s 2017 adaption starred Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer and was met with wide acclaim.
5. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Directed by Armando Iannucci, this comedic adaptation of Dickens’ classic novel makes Victorian London feel surprisingly contemporary. As we follow David Copperfield, who is expertly played by Dev Patel, through his birth, a troublesome childhood and eventually to a successful career as a writer, Dickens’ novel is fleshed out in a new and surprising way.