One of the many reasons I love to read is because it feels like I am watching TV in my head. I revel in taking the words from the page and adapting them into a whole universe in my mind. I love putting my own spin on the aspects of the clothes that the characters wear, or what their home looks like. While imagination is powerful, there is nothing quite like when you hear your favorite book is being adapted into a film. Finally getting to see your beloved characters and scenes come to life is so exciting that more times than not, the final product is underwhelming. I have taken the time to list the ones that I watch time and time again. 

  1. “Me Before You”

This 2012 Jojo Moyes novel follows Louisa Clark, a 26-year-old who is still finding herself. Her latest odd job is being a caregiver to Will Traynor, an impossibly stubborn 35-year-old quadriplegic. The two bicker constantly but soon learn to enjoy each other’s company.  While Louisa is still navigating her personal life, Will still struggles to accept his new way of life after his accident. 

The film adaptation of “Me Before You” was released in 2016 and stars Emilia Clark and Sam Claflin. I thoroughly enjoy this movie and simultaneously want to gouge my eyes out. Let me say this first, the movie is very similar to the book with only slight differences such as Will’s age (he’s younger in the film) and his disposition (in the books, Will is far more agitated on a daily basis. What I appreciate about the film is the exceptional acting and the overall emotional impact of the film. It is hard to watch “Me Before You” and not shed a few tears

  1. “Soul Surfer”

“Soul Surfer” is a 2004 memoir written by teen Bethany Hamilton following a shark attack that left her with only one arm. On top of the struggles that automatically come with losing an arm, Bethany was on the path to becoming a professional surfer. However, she does not let what she has lost dictate her future. She overcomes assumptions made by those around her and ultimately achieves her dream.

There are so few differences between the 2011 major motion picture and Hamilton’s work. Bethany and her family are all said to have played an active role in production, voicing their opinions on aspects of the film to ensure accuracy. While accuracy is not always the goal of book-to-screen adaptations, I believe that in the case of true stories, it is appreciated more. “Soul Surfer” is the ultimate summer feel-good film.

  1. “Emma” 

Jane Austen’s 1815 novel tells the story of Emma Woodhouse, a young woman high in society in Regency Era England. Emma lives alone with her father and prefers to spend her days playing matchmaker for the people of Highbury. While Emma is highly intelligent, her matches are not always as perfect as they seem. 

Though there have been a few adaptations of Austen’s novel since its publication, the most recent 2020 film stands out to me. Aside from being visually stunning, this film is highly elevated by means of comedy and direction by Autumn de Wilde. While the original novel contained many witty lines, it is the characterization done by the actors that liven up the story. Anya Taylor-Joy delivers a fabulous portrayal of the titular character but it is Bill Nighy (Mr. Woodhouse) and Josh O’Connor (Mr. Elton) who are scene stealers even with their low screen time. If reading or even watching the classics scare you, start out with de Wilde’s “Emma” – it will not disappoint.

While I can go on and on about books and movies, two of my favorite things, I feel I should stop myself here. Whether it is accuracy or pure entertainment you are looking for in film adaptations, I highly recommend always reading the book first.

About The Author

Class of 2025

Christina Silvestri is an English Major with minors in Editing & Publishing and Italian Language & Literature.

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