These Films Are Sure to Fit Any Reader’s Taste
Celebrate National Book Lovers Day with your favorite adaptation
The only thing better than reading a good book is watching one. On August 9, National Book Lovers Day celebrates the joys of losing oneself in a good read.
To celebrate, we’ve gathered a roster of five films that have been adapted from books to fit every taste. So dive into or turn on your favorite book.
EMMA. | A literary classic
With EMMA., director Autumn de Wilde brings to the screen one of Jane Austen’s most beloved novels. Anya Taylor-Joy plays Emma Woodhouse, the self-assured and stylish young woman who seems to intuit everyone’s romantic needs but her own. While the comedy of manners is set in Regency England, de Wilde felt the story spoke to her. “Because the book is so inspiring, it eventually leads to your own life, and we wanted to include those things,” the director told Bust. With candy-colored outfits and dream-house-styled sets, de Wilde found a visual language that perfectly resonated with Austen’s wit and wisdom. The Atlantic writes, “de Wilde’s precise aesthetic is an ideal match for the rigid social rules of Jane Austen’s classic novel.”
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris | A modern fairytale
Anthony Fabian, the writer/director of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, told Film Stories that he’d been a fan of Paul Gallico, who penned the book, “ever since I was a little boy when I started reading his novels.” Lesley Manville plays Mrs. Harris, a 1950s London charwoman whose chance encounter with a Dior gown propels her to travel to Paris and purchase one of her own. The charm of this modern fairy tale is matched by the innate compassion and kindness of Mrs. Harris, a quality that shines in both book and film. “I didn't want to let anybody down who loved the original novella," Fabian told MovieWeb. “I wanted to stay true to the spirit of the book.” The Observer writes, “Nothing wrong with a movie …that exists solely for the purpose of creating joy and goodwill, and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris spreads them around like butter.”
Spoiler Alert | A true love story
Jim Parsons, the producer and star of Michael Showalter’s Spoiler Alert, remembers how much Michael Ausiello’s memoir (which was adapted into the film) touched him, telling AV Club, “This story resonated so much with me [because] it was such an authentic tale of what it is to just live your ordinary life—in extraordinary circumstances.” Parsons plays Ausiello, a TV journalist, whose 14-year relationship with Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge) gets turned upside down when Cowan is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Keeping true to the memior, the film is, as the Washington Post writes, “a tear-jerker [that] earns its tissues.” Both a comical and clear-eyed look at relationships, the film, as the Globe and Mail writes, “is a testament to the beautiful grays in love that may sting in the moment, but when a bigger picture is forced upon us, are appreciated for the balance they provide.”
Let Him Go | A cutting-edge western
After reading Larry Watson’s modern Western, filmmaker Thomas Bezucha knew just how to transform this riveting tale of family violence into the tense thriller Let Him Go. When George and Margaret Blackwood (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) lose their only son to a freak accident, their tragedy is compounded when their grandson disappears after their daughter-in-law marries into a distant clan. Determined to get him back, the Blackwoods travel from Montana to the North Dakota Badlands to reclaim their kin. In an exclusive Focus Features interview, Watson said that he found Bezucha’s adaptation “extremely good, not just as a screenplay, but as a piece of writing.” Vulture, who wrote that the film is “a surprising emotional roller coaster…that stays with you,” added “the film makes me want to” read the novel.
The Little Stranger | An original ghost story
Adapted from Sarah Water’s acclaimed gothic novel, Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger is a different kind of ghost story. As seen through the eyes of Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson), The Little Stranger chronicles the strange happenings at Hundreds Hall, the deteriorating estate of the Ayres family, made up of the mother (Charlotte Rampling) and her adult children, Caroline (Ruth Wilson) and Roderick (Will Poulter). Aristocratic now in name only, the family, like the house itself, seems to be falling apart right before Faraday’s eyes. In Sarah Laurence’s blog, Waters explains that “a haunted house story struck me as a good way to” explore the dissolution of the British class system. “Marrying social commentary with spookiness doesn’t just make for effective storytelling,” writes Vox. The film “underlines just how frightening it is to live in a world where your station in life controls your happiness.”