With David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hitting theaters today and Spielberg’s Hergé-inspired The Adventures of Tintin arriving at the movies tomorrow, we have book adaptations on the brain. It’s no secret that we’re avid readers here, but we can also appreciate great cinema inspired by books and other printed sources. You’ll often hear people discussing why a page to screen translation doesn’t work. That’s understandable since Hollywood often appears to be out of original ideas, turning to the shelves in order to make a fast buck. When it is successful, however, most lit fiends are thankful for filmmakers that show reverence to the source material, but made smart sacrifices that make sense for a visual narrative. We looked back at several of the year’s book to movie adaptations and ranked them in order from best to worse. Let us know your picks below.
Lynne Ramsay directs a story about a mother tries to come to terms with the murderous actions of her son Kevin and their strained relationship. Based on Lionel Shriver’s book of the same name, the moody drama is beautifully shot and features stellar performances from Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, and Ezra Miller. It’s a haunting character tale that seems almost impossible to adapt since the novel is written in letter format and from a single perspective — that of Swinton’s character Eva. Her viewpoint in the novel doesn’t always feel completely reliable, but the film delivers this ambiguity more concretely. Thankfully it works, capturing a sense of horror without sensationalism. Kevin stands as one of the strongest films of the year.