Ever since I was little, I’ve always been a huge reader.
Getting lost in a good book is by far my favorite source of entertainment, but having such a deep love for reading also has its disadvantages. I get very protective of the storyline and character development in books, making me overly critical when some of my favorite novels hit the big screen. I notice the tiniest of changes and get easily annoyed when the movie version of the story is lacking the power of the book.
But on some rare occasions, the film adaptation actually exceeds my expectations. Keep scrolling for seven movie adaptations that are better than the book.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
While Jenny Han’s novel depicts a more realistic and nuanced version of a high school relationship, I much prefer the picture-perfect Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky romance that the movie embraced. The Netflix film made subtle but distinct changes that transformed Peter K. from a flighty and indecisive high school boy into a literal angel who girls around the world fell deeply in love with. The movie made it much easier to root for Peter and Lara Jean, allowing viewers to sigh in happiness when they came together at the end, whereas the book left readers with a few lingering doubts as to the overall health of this young romance.
(To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before via Netflix)
The Lord of the Rings (2001)
There’s no denying that J.R.R. Tolkien’s LOTR series is an absolute classic. But the adventure and excitement of the story is sometimes lost in the wordiness of the writing. It’s hard to get a true grasp of the breathtaking elements of this well-formed fantasy world while muddling through the various characters and descriptions that aren’t always that relevant. The movie adaptation really brings this world to life. It cuts out some of the fluff in the novels and gets down to the nitty-gritty details, creating a story that entrances viewers from start to finish, despite the three-hour running time.
(The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring via New Line Cinema)
The Notebook (2004)
Controversial opinion: I’m not the biggest fan of Nicholas Sparks novels. Although he creates tear-jerking romantic storylines that are easy to fall in love with, his writing often portrays a cheesy and overly-idealized depiction of human interactions. It shouldn’t be a surprise then, that I thought The Notebook movie far surpassed it’s written counterpart.
Although quite a bit of the success of this movie stems from the undeniable chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, I love the film primarily because it captures the awkward ups and downs of romantic relationships perfectly. Of course, it’s still an unrealistic and overly-romanticized love story, but it feels relatable and human. It manages to capture the subtleties of falling in love in a way the novel just doesn’t, making it much more enjoyable entertainment.
(The Notebook via New Line Cinema)
The Princess Bride (1987)
While I do believe that The Princess Bride movie is better than the book, it actually has nothing to do with the novel itself. The book is well-written and captivating, but it just can’t bring the fantasy world to life quite like the film. The performances are amazing, the chemistry between the actors is flawless and the action scenes are completely engrossing. Sometimes it just takes physically watching a story play out rather than imagining it in your mind to truly appreciate it, and that’s definitely the case with The Princess Bride.
(The Princess Bride via Act III Communications)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park novel creates a very cool fictional world, and that’s about all we can thank the book for. Beyond its premise, the novel is dull and monotonous, totally lacking the life and energy that’s captured in the film. In addition, the Jurassic Park movie was also highly technically advanced for the age, which upped the overall excitement and wonder of the story. Combine that cutting-edge technology with an all-star cast and you can understand why the novel never had a hope of outshining its filmed counterpart.
(Jurassic Park via Universal Pictures)
The Princess Diaries (2001)
In case you weren’t aware, the iconic movie that launched Anne Hathaway’s career was based on a novel by Meg Cabot. While the book has a lot more content and drama, it just doesn’t capture the lighthearted teen angst that we see in the film. Mia lacks the fun and lovable energy that Anne Hathaway infuses into the character, and the more complicated plot line in the novel tends to distract from the primary problem of the story—that a normal girl must somehow transform herself into a proper princess. I might be biased because The Princess Diaries has become such a classic movie, but I’ll always choose this film over the book.
(The Princess Diaries via Walt Disney Pictures)
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
The Devil Wears Prada movie is substantially better than the book, primarily due to Meryl Streep’s iconic performance. The novel is fun and entertaining, but it portrays a very one-sided villain that can’t even begin to compare to the energy that Meryl Streep breathes into the role. Of course, considering anything Meryl does is absolutely iconic, the book never stood a chance when weighed against her stunning filmed performance.
(The Devil Wears Prada via Fox 2000 Pictures)
Wondering how more of your favorite novels turned out once they hit the big screen? Click HERE for a definitive ranking of the best YA book to movie adaptations.