I recently checked out the movie version of The Portrait of a Lady since I just finished the book. I was curious how it would work as a movie, and when I saw that Nicole Kidman was Isabel and Christian Bale was Rosier, I was hopeful that it might be really good. Those two are excellent actors and the story is incredible, so what could go wrong?
I probably should have known better. Once again, I was disappointed. I don't blame the actors; this time, it was the directing that I didn't like. (If you've seen it and wish to defend it, be my guest!) Everyone knows that the book is always better than the movie, but does this mean that the movie is always terrible and disappointing? There's no denying the fact that it is difficult to be satisfied with a movie that comes from a book you already love. I could waste everyone's time by listing a dozen such movies that disappointed me, but I would rather focus on the positive. So I'm going to list some suggestions based on books I've already reviewed. I'm going to give you the links to my original reviews in case it is useful, but I certainly don't expect you to look over all of them.
In my opinion, the best positive example I've found is The Four Feathers starring Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson. Of ccourse, there are important things the movie doesn't capture, such as Ethne's inner thoughts and conflicting emotions. It is also missing the sense of the significant amount of time that passes during Harry's exile. The movie greatly adds to the character of Abou Fatma, but I actually like the character they create. So I do recommend you watch it.
Probably my second favorite movie adaptation is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest starring Jack Nicholson. I am so impressed with how faithfully the writers stuck to the text of the novel. They truly captured all of the personalities remarkably well and delivered the plot precisely as Kesey wrote it. I think Nicholson and all of the characters played their roles perfectly. This is another one that is definitely worth checking out.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention To Kill a Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck. I like the black-and-white style, and I do think the story was portrayed beautifully. I'm not alone in this thought, as it took home three Academy Awards that year.
Although this is slightly different, I think that Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman is an excellent companion to In Cold Blood. I watched the film before I read the book, and I think it really enhanced my experience of it. The movie helps you to understand what was going on with Capote while he spent years writing this brilliant yet disturbing piece of nonfiction genius.
And maybe this doesn't count, but the stage production of Les Miserables is phenomenal! The creators magically captured the grand and epic nature of the story on stage. I am still amazed at their ability to incorporate the enormous scale of the piece and the number of vignettes in a stage performance. Wow! I haven't watched the Liam Neeson movie, though. Anybody want to recommend it one way or the other?
Now, I am eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Great Gatsby movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Toby Maguire. Baz Luhrmann is directing, which will definitely add some spunk to the story, for better or worse. I also want to highly recommend Midnight in Paris starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams to all you book lovers. Trust me, you will drool a little bit. It is not based on a particular book, but it is definitely targeted to book lovers like me.
Please do not hesitate to send me some movie suggestions!