Best Book Adaptations

Opinion posted March 19, 2023 in

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Not only is this the best movie adaptation in “The Hunger Games” series, but it is also the best movie adaptation of any Young Adult novel.

Following the second book of the series, “Catching Fire” follows Katniss and Peeta, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, through their second Hunger Games.

After the events of the first movie, President Snow has devised a plan to get previous winners of the games to have to play again, really for the goal of killing Katniss, as she has become an inspiration for the revolution in Panem.

This movie, while being more similar to the book than most film adaptations are, introduced several new characters, and the casting was impressive.

Some specific standouts are Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair and Jena Malone as Johanna Mason, both of whom portrayed their roles perfectly.

With a series like “The Hunger Games”, the social commentary aspect is necessary for the story, but that can often either get lost or feel way too heavy-handed and ruin the story.

In these movies, it is almost exactly the way it is in the books, and this is especially true in this second installment. -Izzy Charboneau

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”

It is common knowledge that book adaptations generally deviate from original pieces. Whether that be due to limited screen time or lack of means to recreate the scene, it is likely to happen.

In this matter, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is no different, however, the product was just as good as the source material and occasionally better.

A lot of scenes that were omitted or changed onscreen were replaced with an equally wholesome film equivalent.

The meet-cute in both the film and the book with Lara Jean, the main character, and Peter K., the main love interest, occurred using incidents with cars.

Although the movie strayed a bit, it still establishes a charming and heartwarming time that also characterizes interactions between Peter and Lara Jean.

In some aspects, the movie improved the story.

Peter K. in the book was not depicted to be as kind as he was in the movie. In particular, the hot tub interaction in the film versus the book had different subsequent moments, but in the film, it is easier for viewers to understand Peter’s perspective and it is not as detrimental.

Book adaptations reasonably tend to get a bad rep, but “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” represents the finer side of things. –Erell Williams

“Call Me By Your Name”

The story of “Call Me By Your Name” is portrayed perfectly in this movie adaptation. Lovers of the book will appreciate the attention to detail present in the film.

Taking place in Italy, the adaptation is expected to reflect the beauty of the landscape.

Director Luca Guadagnino showcases this with scenes of the characters riding bikes on paths through the country and lounging in the backyard of the villa.

This film not only captures imagery of the Italian countryside described in the book, but also reflects the characters’ growth as the plot goes along.

As the main characters grow closer and apart they naturally reveal some development.

The director demonstrates this character development well, which can sometimes be difficult when adapting a book into a movie.

“Call Me By Your Name” is one of the best movie adaptations created thus far. No matter how many times one watches, it never fails to impress. -Cassie Baylis

“Little Women”

Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel “Little Women” has seen countless adaptations– on the stage (both as a play and musical, an extremely rare occurrence), on the small screen, and on the big screen.

Since the story of the March sisters has been told so many times, one would assume modern audiences are done with it.

Director Greta Gerwig took a risk and added her spin to “Little Women” in 2019, and ended up creating not only one of the best book-to-screen adaptations but one of the best films of all time.

“Little Women” has an incredibly impressive ensemble cast, starring Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Florence Pugh as Amy, Emma Watson as Meg, Eliza Scanlen as Beth and Laura Dern as their mother, Marmee.

Greta Gerwig gave audiences a new look into the lives of the Marchs, utilizing color grading in scenes to indicate if they were taking place in the past or present. The scenes in the past had a hazy gold glow to them, while the present was clearer and gray.

The best scene in the movie has to be Laurie (Timothée Chalamet) and Jo arguing on the hill after he confesses his love for her.

These two actors are well-practiced in making audiences cry, and it’s almost impossible to understand how someone could turn down a declaration of love from Timothée Chalamet. -Kaitlyn Murphy

“Gone Girl”

David Fincher had a tall task in turning “Gone Girl” into a film, with all of the novels’ nuances and layered storytelling, but he truly hit a home run.

Something that could’ve vaulted “Gone Girl” above other adaptations is the prevalence of Gillian Flynn in the movie’s development.

Flynn wanted to make sure that her story didn’t get altered and the movie’s production team responded as Flynn said they told her, “We liked the same things about the book, and we wanted the same thing out of the movie.”

It certainly shines through, as the bulk of the movie stays true to the novel.

There are some big alterations, like the parents of both Amy and Nick playing smaller roles in the movie then they did in the novel, and certain speeches and interviews cut down for time.

In the end, though, the movie encapsulates the heart of the story.

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike deserve all the praise in the world for their roles in this film as well, both elevated the movie that much more by their being in it and truly helped make this one of the better book adaptations. -Dylan Price

“Pride and Prejudice” (2005)

While “Pride and Prejudice” has had its number of remakes, there’s no comparison to the 2005 adaptation starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden.

The scenery and costuming are absolutely beautiful, with most of it staying true to Jane Austen’s vision, but with some additions from director Joe Wright.

Knightley plays a lively and fierce Elizabeth Bennet and does a great job portraying one of the greatest book heroines of all time. Macfayden plays her opposite Mr. Darcy and takes on the challenging role of a brooding man who can’t get what he wants.

In one of the most memorable scenes of the film, Bennet visits Pemberley, Darcy’s estate, and the two of them smile at each other for the first time in the film, and the sun hits both of their faces just right in a scene that will make hearts in the audience melt.

As a period piece with spot-on acting, scenery, dialogue, soundtrack and costumes, this adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” has stolen the show for years. -Adrianna Gallucci

Izzy Charboneau is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email ijc5186@psu.edu.
 
Erell Williams is a second-year majoring in broadcasting journalism. To contact her, email exw5303@psu.edu.

Cassie Baylis is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email ceb6085@psu.edu.

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email kvm6255@psu.edu.

Dylan Price is a second-year majoring in Broadcast Journalism, to contact him email dvp5625@psu.edu.

Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, please email amg7989@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

Erell Williams's photo

Erell Williams

First Year /

Erell Williams is a first-year student, and her intended majors are Broadcasting Journalism and Chinese. She grew up in Douglassville, Pennsylvania. She is a member of the CommRadio News and Arts department. To contact her, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Dylan Price's photo

Dylan Price

First Year / Broadcast Journalism

Dylan Price is a first year student at Pennsylvania State University studying Journalism in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. 
Dylan currently serves as a member of CommRadio at Penn State where he works with other students to cover Penn State and national sports. Outside of sports media, Dylan is an Eagle Scout and serves as a board member for FOTO, a special interest organization benefiting THON. Dylan also hosts his own podcast called, “Ambitious with Dylan Price” where he interviews NFL players, College Football coaches, NASCAR Champions, NHL Legends, Mental Health Advocates, ESPY Award Winners and Former U.S. Senators. Dylan also works as a staff writer for Empire Sports Media and Turn On The Jets covering the New York Jets, New York Yankees, Baseball, Boxing and NASCAR. Dylan intends to graduate and pursue a career in media or coaching as his biggest passion is entertaining and helping others.

Isabelle Charboneau's photo

Isabelle Charboneau

/ Journalism

Izzy Charboneau is a second-year student majoring in digital and print journalism. She is from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Izzy is in the news department and the arts and entertainment department of CommRadio. In the arts and entertainment department, she contributes to many listicles, writes reviews, participates in talk shows, and co-hosts a podcast. In the news department, she is on a weekly newscast and writes news stories. To contact her, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Adrianna Gallucci

Sophomore /

Adrianna Gallucci is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and is one of CommRadio’s New Member Coordinators. She is also a broadcaster, journalist, podcaster and talk show guest. In addition, Adrianna is also a part of PSSN, TDAY Sports and AWSM. She hosts her own independent podcast, She’s All Bat: A New York Mets podcast. She is a huge Mets and Rangers fan and will always talk about pro wrestling. Adrianna wants to work in MLB, NHL or WWE as a journalist or an anchor. You can find her on Twitter at @agallucci17 or email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Kaitlyn Murphy

Freshman /

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year student at Penn State majoring in digital and print journalism. She is a member of the Arts and Entertainment Department of CommRadio and is passionate about reviewing films, television shows, and music. Follow her on twitter at @kaitlynmurph and email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any inquiries.

Cassie Baylis's photo

Cassie Baylis

Third Year /

Cassie Baylis is a third-year broadcast journalism student attending Penn State University. She minors in English. This is Cassie’s first year in CommRadio, as she transferred to PSU this year. She is a member of the Friday CommRadio Newscast, and she writes for the Arts & Entertainment department. Cassie enjoys music and ranting about the plot of books she is reading. To contact her, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).