Five Book to Movie Adaptations to Watch During Quarantine
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Now that we’re a month(?) into quarantine I’ve had plenty of time to re-watch book to movie adaptations.
So here are my top five book to movie adaptations to watch whilst in quarantine.
5. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: Based on the first book in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones was released in 2013. I totally feel like 2013 was only like two years ago because I still feel like it should be 2015 and not 2020. Anyway, City of Bones follows teenaged Clary Fray, portrayed by Lily Collins, as she comes to find out there is a secret, shadow world hidden within our own world, and that she was born as a part of this other world. As she learns to navigate this world of witches, vampires, demons, werewolves, and demon hunters, she comes to learn just how large of a role she has to play in this hidden world.
City of Bones features a cast of Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Lena Headey, Aidan Turner, and Godfrey Gao; just to name the main cast. The 2013 adaptation was filmed by Harald Zwart and runs for 130 minutes.
The film does stay fairly faithful to the book. My main issue with the film is in how little it explains about the world it’s trying to build. There are exposition dumps about the shadow world and its history, but all the little details are missing. If a character is seen using a magic item, there is no explanation to what it is exactly. If you aren’t a fan of or aren’t familiar with The Mortal Instruments series, then some parts of the film can be alienating to those who aren't familiar with the world. The film does have a long runtime, and it definitely has its faults. But if you want to watch an action film, City of Bones is a great film to kill a night in quarantine.
4. Pride and Prejudice: The 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved classic is just *chef kiss* a masterpiece. If for some reason you aren’t aware of the plot of Pride and Prejudice, it follows the five Bennet sisters as they traverse the gentry’s marriage market of the 19th century. The main focus is on the second eldest Bennet sister, Elizabeth, and her relationship with one Mr. Darcy.
Pride and Prejudice stars Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy respectively. It was filmed by Joe Wright and runs for 127 minutes.
Another long film to kill another long night in quarantine. If you are a hopeless romantic, then you probably know this film by heart already. But in a time that where all hope seems lost, sweeping landscapes, pretty gowns, and true love are just what some just need right now.
3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: A film adaptation of a musical adaptation of a penny dreadful comes in at number three on this list. The 2007 film adaptation of Sweeney Todd is a Victorian gothic dream. The tale of Sweeney Todd was originally a word of mouth tale that was first appeared in a literary setting in 1846 by Thomas Peckett Prest who wrote the short story “The String of Pearls: A Romance.” Over the years, the Sweeney Todd legend continued to grow as the character was used in a plethora of plays, stories, and musicals. It wasn’t until 1979 that Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler turned a play version of Sweeney Todd into a musical that thus became the 2007 film adaptation.
This film stars Jonny Depp as the titular character, hell-bent on getting revenge on the vile Judge Turpin, played by Alan Rickman, who wronged him 15-years prior on a false charge as a way to get closer to Todd’s wife. The film also stars Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, a business owner who turns Todd’s victims into meat pies as she hopes he falls in love with her. Rounding out the cast are Sacha Baron Cohen, Laura Michelle Kelly, Jayne Wisener, and marking his second appearance on this list, Jamie Campbell Bower. Tim Burton directed this project, and brings the runtime in just under two hours at 116 minutes.
Not only is this a musical, it is also a horror movie. I know, I know, neither of those genres are the most loved film genres, and horror and musicals are hard to blend together, but this one works; notice I didn’t put the filmed stage production of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde on this list. Tim Burton’s aesthetic works to the advantage of this musical. In every adaptation of Sweeney Todd, the setting is dark and gritty, but it still needs this beauty just under the surface; Burton was the best filmmaker for this story.
2. Murder on the Orient Express: I feel it disgraceful to not include a good murder mystery on this list. The 2017 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery of the same name is a visual stunning adaptation with knock-out performances by the entirety of the cast. Murder on the Orient Express follows Christie’s most famous detective, Hercule Poirot, who must solve the murder of Edward Ratchett while onboard the Orient Express. With everyone a suspect, no one is truly safe.
Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in the film as Detective Hercule Poirot. The rest of the cast is made up famous faces including Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., and Johnny Depp as our murder victim Edward Ratchett. Murder on the Orient Express clocks in with a 114-minute runtime, making it the second shortest film on this list.
If you’re not familiar with this story I highly suggest either reading the book or watching this film. The ending will leave first time readers/views flabbergasted. This film is just so good. It’s visually stunning, the performances are top notch, and you can’t beat an Agatha Christie murder mystery.
1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Premiering in 2012, this coming-of-age drama follows Charlie, a 15 going on 16-year-old, through his first year of high school as he makes friends, lovers, and struggles with his anxiety, depression, and flashbacks of repressed memories from his childhood.
Logan Lerman stars as Charlie, and we all know my love for him already. Lerman gives a heartbreaking, beautiful performance that is only bettered by his scene partners. Emma Watson and Ezra Miller make up the other two thirds of the main characters. Watson portrays Sam, Charlie’s best friend and one of his love interests, and Miller portrays Patrick, Charlie’s other best friend and Sam’s stepbrother. The rest of the main cast is rounded out by Mae Whitman, Paul Rudd, Nina Dobrev, and Joan Cusack. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was written by Stephen Chbosky, and the 2012 adaptation was directed by Chbosky as well.
At 103 minutes, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the shortest film on this list. And my personal opinion makes it number one of this list. If you are looking for a heartbreaking and also heartwarming film with some stellar performances, then look no further.