We’ve all heard that saying before: the book is always better. But is it true? In the book vs. movie battle, are movie adaptations doomed to fail before production even starts? Well, I wouldn’t go that far. In fact, I think sometimes the film is actually even more enjoyable than the source material.
But, let’s look at a few book vs. movie examples to see where the truth lies.
Book vs. Movie Adaptations
I read the book years ago. It’s extremely long (as in, 700+ pages) but was beyond captivating. Joyce Carol Oates is a beautiful writer and her depiction of MM was empathetic and heart-wrenching.
The movie, on the other hand… well, it wasn’t great. Ana de Armas’ portrayal of the iconic Marilyn was fantastic. But, other than that, I wasn’t impressed.
Final Verdict: Book, hands down
2. Luckiest Girl Alive
Fun fact—Luckiest Girl Alive actually what inspired me to write this post. And, of all the book vs. movie comparisons here, this one is by far the most recent. As in, I just watched the movie today.
For the most part, I really liked the movie.
Mila Kunis was great in the role, and it was an entertaining watch. What bothered me, though, is how much was changed from the novel. In fairness, I think most adaptations do that, but the changes seemed really noticeable to me. Perhaps because I took in both the book and movie in the same week, but still. The things that were changed made a difference in the story.
Final Verdict: Book, but I’d still recommend the movie
3. Gone Girl
If you, somehow, haven’t read it, I’d highly recommend it. Of course, I’d also highly recommend the movie. Rosamund Pike gives a phenomenal and chilling performance. Ben Affleck is arrogant and smug, which definitely works for him here.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to say the movie was better than the source material, I’ll say this: it does the book justice.
Final Verdict: Tie
4. The Devil Wears Prada
The book was a bestseller, and for good reason. It’s funny and thoroughly entertaining. But, can anything compete with Meryl Streep? Her icy, intimidating performance next to Anne Hathaway’s eager, earnest one is the stuff of movie legends.
Final Verdict: Movie, honestly
5. The Woman in the Window
The movie adaptation features Amy Adams, who is one of the most underrated actresses of our generation, and she gives a fierce and believable performance. Julianne Moore is also in this one, and she too is amazing. Their acting skills alone make this one worth the watch.
Still, the film never manages to give you the same I’m-on-the-edge-of-my-seat feeling like the novel.
Final Verdict: Book, but barely
6. Perks of Being a Wallflower
I still love it, and I’ve read it at least 5 times. The movie, though. Well, the movie was OK. Not bad, but also, you know, not great. Decidedly mediocre.
Final Verdict: Book, without a doubt
7. The Girl on the Train
Remember how I said Gone Girl sparked a wave of similar books in the psychological thriller genre?
Well, The Girl on the Train is one of those “similar books” often touted as “like Gone Girl” (but honestly, just not as good.) Still a fun read, mind you. And still a book I’d definitely recommend.
Which is more than I can say for the film adaptation. Emily Blunt is a great actress and she does the best with the material she’s given. Unfortunately, that material isn’t very well developed. Do yourself a favor: skip the movie and just read the damn book.
Final Verdict: Book, by a long-shot