It’s not often the film is better than the book. Take the Harry Potter series – every book is better than every film and that’s just a fact. However, there are some films where I’ve preferred their spin on it to the book itself. Here’s my list of five film adaptations I preferred to the book and why.
My Sisters Keeper (Nick Cassavetes, 2009)
This is probably the main one. We watched this in Science one year and I instantly loved the film. When I realised it was a book I bought it immediately and began reading. And it took me FOREVER but I did finally manage to finish it.
For those unfamiliar with the film/book, Anna was a designer baby born to save her sister Kate. Anna is asked to donate her kidney and starts legal proceedings for medical emancipation to her own body so that she doesn’t have to. That’s the basic gist anyway?
The first thing about the book was that I just didn’t particularly like it. I think if you’re gonna have a book that switches POVs then keep it to the minimum of characters, don’t give every main character their own POV. I didn’t give a damn about the backstory of the judge and the lawyer, their POVs were so boring and honestly a lot of the chapters just really dragged out. Maybe it’s because I was like fourteen when I read it but I don’t have the energy to even try and attempt to reread it now because I still think it would be dull.
My main issue is the ending – those that loved the book hate that the movie ending is different but I personally much preferred the movie ending as the one in the book weirdly seemed more ‘Hollywood’ whereas the movie ending seemed more realistic. SPOILER ALERT – in the film Kate dies whereas in the book once Anna is granted medical emancipation she dies in a car crash and her kidney ends up going to her sister anyway who lives for a few more years. Anna says something earlier on in the book about how you ‘shouldn’t lose your purpose for being born’ – I’M SORRY WHAT? How can anyone enjoy that? That’s honestly so ridiculous.
I know Jodi Piccoult hated the film for changing the ending and all the fans of the book did but I’m sorry, the filmmakers did the right thing. The book was all over the bloody place and the film saved it.
The Ritual (David Bruckner, 2017)
This is another one where I watched the film first and I won’t lie to you, the film wasn’t incredible or ground-breaking but it did kill a couple of hours. I’d enjoyed the film to an extent so I decided to pick up the book and give it a read. I did not finish that book.
The basic story is that a group of friends decide to go hiking in Sweden and to save time they decide to cross through a forest. In the forest there is something lurking ready to sacrifice them.
I’m pretty sure I got several chapters in and nothing particularly happened. Plus in the film it’s clear why the guys go to Sweden whereas in the book it’s sort of a bit like… Why are they there? Why did they pick to go hiking in Sweden when two out of four of them definitely aren’t up for a bit of hiking? If my best friends suggested a hiking trip to me I’d probably laugh in their faces.
I feel like I can’t make a fair comparison because I obviously didn’t finish the book so I can’t draw a lot of comparisons but I really wasn’t a fan of the writing and it was just impossible. I’m sorry!
It’s not a film I massively love but I do prefer it to the book.
Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)
Okay I did not DISLIKE the book, I actually loved the book and would argue it’s one of my favourites. In this case the book actually did some more realistic and the film was much more the ‘Hollywood’ version of things but I think I still preferred the film.
The basic plot is that Jack lives with his Ma in ‘Room’. He was born in Room and him and his Ma have never been outside. They muddle by but after Jack’s fifth birthday Ma hatches a plan to escape Room. I haven’t done the plot justice but it’s beautiful – and I mean both the book and the film.
This is another one where I watched the film first, I went with my friend Jess and I don’t know why but it quickly became my favourite film. I do like a good weepy film and this one has several weepy moments and I just think it was brilliantly done. Congratulations to Brie Larson for winning that Oscar, it was definitely deserved and Jacob Trembley’s performance as Jack was also incredible.
The end scene is the same in the book as it is in the film – Jack and Ma return to Room and say goodbye but the overall ending is different. In the film Ma returns from the hospital and it’s implied that she starts to get better as Jack and Ma continue to live with Grandma and Steppa. Whereas in the book Ma insists they move into their own place and although it’s difficult at first it’s implied that things do end as happily as they can. But I don’t know, I preferred the characters in the film – Grandma had much more patience with Jack in the film than she did in the book and although I know in my heart that the book definitely portrayed everything more realistically I prefer the film! I’m sorry!
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Francis Lawrence, 2015)
I think the thing with the Mockingjay book is that I didn’t quite ‘get’ it… The same could be said for ‘Catching Fire’ but at least they have another Hunger Games so actually no I enjoyed that one. I wasn’t quite following the Mockingjay book though.
I did finish it – my friend Becca very kindly lent it to me after I’d enjoyed the first two books and I read a couple of chapters each night but I can’t honestly say that I followed much of it. I don’t know why… A lot of these books I’m listing are books I read as a teenager so maybe I was just a bit dim but I feel like it all got a bit lost in translation for me.
I didn’t fully understand what had happened until I watched the film and then I actually understood some of Katniss’ decisions. For example when she shot President Coin instead of President Snow. Again though, this may be because I was quite young when I originally read the book whereas I was about twenty when the film came out. Maybe if I reread it now it would make much more sense. But overall, right now, I prefer the film.
The Maze Runner (Wes Ball, 2014)
I originally watched this film because Becca had read the books and was a fan so she dragged us all to the cinema, and we all ended up loving it. As I’d enjoyed the film so much I decided to give the book a stab and Oh My God.
To be honest it’s been a while since I attempted the book (and I didn’t finish it) so I can’t remember everything but first of all I remember it being written really weird. I don’t know, all the boys just talked like farmers and I wasn’t really feeling it so I pushed through but it got worse.
Thomas and Teresa could communicate with each other telepathically in the books – a decision I’m so glad they made to get rid of in the films because WHAT? Why? How does that make sense? I hadn’t been Teresa’s biggest fan in the films anyway but in the books she was so much worse and I just couldn’t get through it once Teresa had been introduced. I don’t think it’d matter if I picked the book up again now. I love the films but dear God, I can’t stand the books.
So there we have it, five film adaptations I preferred to the books. Feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree, and what your favourite or worst book to film adaptations are!