A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about adaptations of books that I think are better or just as good as the books themselves. As soon as I published the post, I thought of a few other adaptations that fit the prompt. So I’m back for a part two. This time I have three movies to talk about so I hope you enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: I don’t really watch movies anymore and am just not a movie person in general so these are just my opinions don’t attack me lol.
The first adaptation I want to talk about is Pride and Prejudice. There is a lot of debate over which adaptation is the best but I’m really partial to the 2005 film. Pride and Prejudice, is the second Austen book I read and I really enjoy it. But sometimes, I want to spend a cozy afternoon with this story but not commit to rereading the book. This film scratches the itch almost as much as the book does. I think most people know what this story is about and I sometimes find Austen novels difficult to summarize but this is a romance between Elizabeth and Darcy. There are dances, family drama, and misunderstandings. It’s just a nice time. When I reflect on this film, the first thing that stands out is the scenery. The entire atmosphere is beautiful and feels so warm. It’s such a comforting movie to watch and even though you know most of what’s going to happen, it just makes me happy to watch unfold. I also just love the family dynamics in this story. In the film, Kitty is played by Carey Mulligan and she’s one of my favorites. I’m certain I’ll be watching this movie again really soon because just writing about it makes me want to experience it again.
The next film I want to talk about is also based on a classic novel. It also stars Kiera Knightley. And that’s the 2012 Anna Karenina adaptation. I read this book five or six years ago and it took quite a while to finish but I thoroughly enjoyed it. This story follows Anna who goes to visit her brother and try to save his marriage. While she’s there, she meets Count Vronsky and starts developing feelings for him. Her husband then says she has to choose between Vronsky, and her family. There’s a ton of characters and other side plots in this story but that’s the main gist. The film leaves out quite a bit because it has to but I still really enjoy the watching experience. I don’t think it will work for everyone, though. If you don’t enjoy stories involving extra-marital affairs or just Russian classics in general, then of course you might not like the movie but there’s also something about the way the story is told in the movie that is a little different. The film is framed in a way where it looks like it’s happening on a stage. I think it’s an interesting thing to watch and really compliments the dramatic nature of the story and the fact that the main characters are socialites performing for each other. I also appreciate most of the cuts the film chose to make because Leo Tolstoy talks at length about Russian politics at the time in a way that doesn’t always feel directly connected to the story so the movie allows you to enjoy the main plot and not trudge through some of the more tedious parts.
The last film I want to talk about is one that I watched before I read the book. I then read the book and realized just how much the movie improved upon the source text. Dumplin’ follows Willowdean, the plus-sized daughter of a beauty queen as she falls in love, mourns the loss of her aunt, and enters a beauty pageant to make a statement. Both Willowdean as a character and the overall plot are greatly improved upon by the movie. Willowdean is definitely more unlikable in the book and that’s fine for me but I know that a lot of people have issues with her in the book. I also just think the plot of the book is a little slow. The movie just feels a little more focused and moves a bit faster. I don’t know how to explain why I’ve watched this movie twice other than the vibes are just really great. The Dolly Parton songs, the small-town atmosphere that reminds me of where I grew up, and the strained relationship between mother and daughter really speak to me. I do think there’s some value in reading the book if you like YA contemporary that’s more character than plot-driven BUT if you’re unsure, I’d just recommend giving the movie a watch because it’s just a nice time.
I’m keeping a list of adaptations I want to talk about for this series but since I’m not a big movie watcher, it might be a while before I have another of these. Let me know any adaptations you really enjoy!