Top 10: Movies Based on Books


1.  Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.


This 2006 German Thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer based in the 1985 novel by Süskind, is set in 18th century France, it tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenoille, an olfatctory genius, and his homicidal quest for the perfect scent. The film stars Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman and Rachel Hurd-Wood.

I love this film because Andre Birkin managed to write a screenplay that stays true to the book.
It's a hard film to like, because of the subject, but it's even harder to dismiss, simply because it's never less than absolutely fascinating.

2. A Little Princess.


The 1995 American  film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, is set during World War I, it focuses on a young girl who is relegated to a life of servitude in a New York City  boarding school by the headmistress after receiving news that her father was killed in combat. Based upon the novel with the same title  by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this film was heavily influenced by the 1939 version. It stars Liesel Matthews ( Liesel Anne Pritzker, yes! the same family from the Pritzker Architecture Prize), Eleanor Bron, Liam Cunningham and Vanessa Lee Chester.

Although various differences occur between the original source material and the setting and screenplay of this film I have to say that it is one of my favorites, it's amazing and beautifully done, with stunning cinematography. Plus "Every girl everwhere is a princess."

3.The Girl With the Dradon Tattoo.


This is a 2009 Swedish mystery film, crime thriller adaptation of the of the same name by the late Swedish author/journalist Stieg Larsson, The primary characters in the series are Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Lisbeth is an intelligent, eccentric woman in her twenties with a Photographic memory  and poor social skills. Blomkvist is an investigative journalist with a history similar to Stieg Larsson's. Together they have to uncover the truth abour Harriet Vanger's disappearance. Directed by Niels Arden Oplev. It stars  Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Sven-Bertil Taube and Peter Haber. 

I like this film (The series actually) because is a handsome thriller. Is so  exquisitely crafted and the final result is a good treat for anyone who enjoys the journey of movies, anchored by an amazing performance by Noomi Rapace. The americans are going to have a hard time matching this one because is so great!.

4. The Painted Veil.

The Painted Veil is a 2006 Chinese-American drama. The film tells the love story  of a young English couple (a doctor and a society girl) who marry hastily. They relocate to Hong Kong where they betray each other easily, but then they find an unexpected chance at redemption and happiness while on a deadly journey into the heart of ancient China. Directed by John Curran, with a screenplay by Ron Nyswaner is based on the 1925 novel of the same title by W. Somerset Maugham. It stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Toby Jones, Anthony Wong Chau Sang and Liev Schreiber in the leading roles.

I like it for it's sweeping vistas, period-piece sets, impeccable literary source, (the original novel with beautiful China as a backdrop to this story of growth, is a classic. It is beautifully written, amazingly detailed) that is ultimately quite impressive. Is “… the painted veil which those who live call Life.” 

5. Arráncame la Vida.


Mexican director Roberto Sneider wrote the script of "Tear This Heart Out" ("Arráncame la Vida") with the author  Ángeles Mastretta published, the story is inspired by the life of Maximino Ávila Camacho, a four-star general in Mexico's revolutionary forces, brother of Manuel Ávila Camacho who was President of Mexico from 1940 to 1946.
The film tells the story of the beautiful Catalina Guzmán general  Andrés Ascencioand concertmaster Carlos Vives. It stars Ana Claudia Talancón, Daniel Giménez Caho  y José María de Tavira.

The direction is almost perfect is the kind of drama that never falls for the temptation to go overly melodramatic and dialogs are kept smart enough - even ironic at times - to make this movie a fresh and satisfying take on the Mexican way of life. It actually feels very accurate. It smoothly hypnotizes you and never lets go.

6. Pride & Prejudice.


 Is a 2005 European romance film directed by Joe Wright. It is a film adaptation of the 1813 novel of the same name by Jane Austen and the second adaption produced by Working Title Films. It was released on September 2005. It stars Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.

I like it because is a  lovely period piece that surely will stand the test of time, like the book has. Plus it has what I think is one of the greatest OST's ever!.

7. Angels & Demons.


This 2009 American mystery-thriller film directed by Ron Howard is based on Dan Brown's novel by the same name.This time we have story of Langdon's brush with a shadowy secret society, the Illuminati, and his frantic quest for the world's most powerful energy source, in the company of a beautiful Italian physicist whose father, a brilliant physicist, has been murdered. The film stars Tom Hanks, Ayalet Zurer, Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgård.
I love this adaptation of the book even though  it takes a lot of liberties with the source material but I think that makes it so much more believable and interesting.

8. Gone With The Wind.


Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American film, a historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It was directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard. Set in the 19th century American South, the film stars Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, and Hattie McDaniel, among others, and tells a story of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era from a Southern point of view.

This Film is grand old Hollywood at its most magnificent and melodramatic stage, It's so full of iconic moments of plotting and dialog that a feature film could be edited just out of the most quotable moments, like the o so very famous "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn".

9. Being There.


The 1979 American comedy-drama feature film directed by Hal Ashby. Adapted from the 1971 novella written by Jerzy Kosinski, the screenplay was coauthored by Kosinski and Robert C. Jones. It tells the story of Chance, a simple gardener, has never left the estate until his employer dies. His simple TV-informed utterances are mistaken for profundity.The film stars Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard A. Dysart, and Richard Basehart.

I loved this book, and when I was told that there was a film adaptation I knew I was going to have to  watch it, it took me almost 2 years to find the DVD, but it was woth the wait, Sellers is in top form as are the supporting cast-the shear farce of it all makes the improbable seem probable-and as a vehicle for political/social commentary it ranks as one of the best dark comedies ever made.

10. The Secret Garden.


This 1993 British drama film based on the 1911 novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett, was directed by Agnieszka Holland and it Tells the story of A young British girl born and raised in India who loses her neglectful parents in an earthquake. She is returned to England to live at her uncle's castle. Her uncle is very distant due to the loss of his wife ten years before. Neglected once again, she begins exploring the estate and discovers a garden that has been locked for a long time. Aided by one of the servants' boys, she begins restoring the garden, and eventually discovers some other of the family secrets. It stars Kate Maberly, Heydon Prowse, Andrew Knott, Maggie Smith and John Lynch.

This is a must for every family film collection, I think the key to this movie is the great story, you can enjoy it's sophistication or simply the great way in which this timeless classic is told and also the wonderful performances from the child actors.

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