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The Best Book to Movie Adaptations For International Book Lovers Day

When was the last time you read a book? A real book, one with pages and chapters? It’s probably been awhile, right? Fortunately, we here at Hollywood.com have your back! Not only are we here to provide you with all the latest industry news, we also want you to become a more cultured individual. No joke! We promote media consumption in all forms, not just on the big screen. We’ve made a rogue list of our favorite book to movie adaptations in honor of International Book Lovers Day.

We skipped the obvious – Gone With the Wind, Lord of the Rings, Little Women, The Shawshank Redemption, the Harry Potter franchise – and came up with a list of relevant, thought-provoking picks.

Best Book to Movie Adaptations: Red, White & Royal Blue (2023)

August 2023 is as perfect as it gets timing-wise for Casey McQuiston‘s 2019 LGBTQ+-inclusive novel cum rom-com. The main story stays true to the book – Alex’s mother, the first female POTUS, is up for reelection and her son, Alex catches feelings for Henry, a British prince. A secret relationship complete with steamy emails ensues. Book purists might be a little disappointed as the adaptation process made some key character changes necessary but as Matthew Lopez, a screenplay co-writer told People, “Anything that wasn’t about Alex and Henry didn’t belong in the film. Anything that didn’t feed into that story had to go.”

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The film stars Uma Thurman as President Ellen Claremont, Taylor Zakhar Perez as Alex, and Nicholas Galitzine as Henry. Red, White & Royal Blue is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Best Book to Movie Adaptations: Dune (2021)

Frank Herbert‘s 1965 genre-defining epic Dune is a tough read and the world’s best selling science-fiction novel. Depending on the version, it can run between 400 and 500 pages as it explores themes of technology, politics, religion and ecology. Thankfully, Denis Villenueve‘s modern version breaks it down into a digestible, magnificent two-and-a-half-hour experience.

The ensemble cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Stellan Skarsgârd, Zendaya, Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem. It was nominated for ten awards at the 2021 Oscars (including Best Picture) and won six. The next installment, Dune: Part Two is set to hit theaters in early November.

Best Book to Movie Adaptations: Nomadland (2020)

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder is actually a non-fiction book. The 2017 quasi-ethnographic work explores the lives of vandwellers – older, low-income Americans who travel from place to place sustaining themselves with seasonal employment.

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Chloé Zhao wrote, produced, edited and directed Nomadland. Frances McDormand stars. Widely celebrated, the film took home Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress awards at the 93rd Academy Awards.

Best Book to Movie Adaptations: We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

Lionel Shriver‘s 2003 fiction novel was written four years after the Columbine High School massacre. It’s presented as a series of letters from a mother to a father-slash-estranged husband, trying to decipher the missteps leading up to the mass school killing their son has committed.

We Need To Talk About Kevin was extremely well-received in British and American markets. The film stars Tilda Swinton as the mother, Eva Khatchadourian. Quite ironically, Ezra Miller stars as her antisocial son, Kevin.

Best Book to Movie Adaptations: Hillbilly Elegy (2020)

The 2016 memoir of J.D. Vance, the current junior U.S. senator representing Ohio was referred to by The New York Times as one of “six books that can help understand Trump’s win“. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis recounts life in southwestern Ohio during the late ’90s and early ’00s. In it, Vance explores the polarizing topics of welfare, socioeconomic status, drug use, hillbilly culture and Appalachia’s swing from blue to red.

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Ron Howard directed this social commentary film with skillful performances by Amy Adams and Glenn Close (Best Supporting Actress, 2021 Academy Awards).

The Power of the Dog (2021)

Thomas Savage‘s 1967 novel was praised by critics but didn’t make money until 2001 when it was republished and rebranded. A 2021 interview with the movie’s director, Jane Campion reveals that her film closely follows the novel of the same name which tells the tale of a mother and son who migrate through marriage to a Montana ranch owned by two very different brothers, Phil and George.

All four stars – Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee – received Oscar nods in this beautifully crafted Best Picture nominee. Campion picked up the award for Best Director. (Also of note, the Jonny Greenwood-composed score).

Best Book to Movie Adaptations: Requiem For a Dream (2000)

Requiem For a Dream is written in a stream-of-consciousness style. Author Hubert Selby Jr. had little use for commas, quotation marks, and paragraph indentations. On the surface, it’s a gritty, realistic account of four New Yorkers in the late ’70s and their addictions. Underneath, it’s a tragic tale of broken dreams and lost hopes.

Starring Ellen Burstyn (Best Actress nominee), Jared Leto, Marlon Wayans and Jennifer Connelly. The film is the second feature of acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky.

This is not an extensive list! We have some runners-up:

Young Adult (female)

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. (2023)/Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume (1970)

Adventure

Into The Wild (2008)/Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer (1996)

Classic Horror

Silence of the Lambs (1991)/Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris (1988)

Suspense

Gerald’s Game (2017)/Gerald’s Game by Stephen King (1992)

Guilty Pleasure

50 Shades Of Grey (2015)/50 Shades Of Grey by E.L. James (2011)

Hero

Captain Phillips (2013)/A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Captain Richard Phillips (2010)

What are we missing? Tell us your favorites in the comments.

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