Since the early days of cinema, many critically acclaimed films have drawn their inspiration from phenomenal novel. Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin is no different. Adapted from Michael Faber’s thrilling novel, Under The Skin captivates viewers with exhilarating scenes and shocking events. Could Under The Skin be one of the best book to film adaptations of recent years? Join in the discussion as FilmJuice highlights Ten of the Best book to film adaptations.
Planet Of The Apes
What has come to be known as a Hollywood classic, Planet Of The Apes takes us to the year 3978 A.D. where a spaceship crashes on a distant planet. Colonel George Taylor (Charlton Heston) quickly discovers that the planet is ruled by intelligent, talking apes who rule the seemingly mute humans with a fist of iron. Taylor’s attempts to prove that he is not like the other ‘uneducated’ humans finally result in a trip to the Forbidden Zone … and one of sci-fi’s greatest shock discovery moments. Adapted from Pierre Boulle’s book, Monkey Planet, this epic film is a thrill-drama fuelled ride that also invokes questions about what it means to be human.
Based on the famous Nabokov novel, Lolita is a controversial film of forbidden love. Humbert Humbert is a British professor who has moved to the US to teach. There he falls for his landlady’s 14 year-old -daughter Dolores “Lolita” Haze. Humbert eventually marries Charlotte Haze in order to be close to Lolita … and so begins a dangerous obsession. As a novel and film, Lolita was – and remains – one of the most talked about and contentious pieces of work. Both versions of the film perfectly portray the exhilaration and heartbreak that fill the novel.
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Adapted from Lionel Shriver’s thrilling yet dark novel, We Need To Talk About Kevin, centres around Eva and her struggle to love her psychopathic son, Kevin. In a series of flashbacks, the film illustrates the lonely life of Eva before and after her son committed a massacre at his high school. Now a travel agent at a mall, Eva is shunned by the town’s folk and her visits with Kevin are filled with loathing and tension. On the second anniversary of the massacre, Eva hugs her son, ultimately realising she does love him regardless of his acts. The film is filled with unspoken passions and horror, with a standout performance from Tilda Swinton.
Based on a short story by Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain is a raw, powerful story of two young men and their 19-year-long love affair. Meeting during the summer of 1963, Ennis Dwill and Jack Twist find work on Brokeback Mountain herding sheep. The two begin a secret relationship but, at the end of the summer, Ennis and Jack go their separate ways. Unable to completely break the ties that bond them, the men begin meeting several times a year … each meeting becoming more emotional than the last. The film, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, is magnificently heartbreaking with stirring performances that breathe new life into a Prouix’s inspired tale.
Cynical and fragile screenwriter Charlie Kaufman has been hired to write the screenplay of Susan Orlean’s book, The Orchid Thief. Kaufman struggles to write a screenplay that will be true to the book … but which eventually becomes anything but. Ultimately what Kaufman delivers – by becoming a character in his own script – is an effortlessly funny, quirky, and original look at the pain and pleasure of screenwriting.
Adapted from the novel by Alberto Moravia, The Conformist is set in Rome in 1938 where closet homosexual Marcello Clerici tries desperately to ‘conform’ by marrying and joining Mussollini’s Fascist government. On his honeymoon, Marcello’s bosses give him the job of killing his old college mentor who fled when the Fascists came to power. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, The Conformist gives true insight to the pressures of pre-war Italy with stunning visuals and superb commentary.
To Kill A Mockingbird
From Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, To Kill A Mockingbird depicts the life of Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) and his family in racially divided Alabama in the 1930’s, through the eyes of his 6-year-old daughter, Scout. Tom Robinson, a young black man is accused of raping a white woman and Finch agrees to defend him. Taking a stand against racial intolerance, Atticus proves Tom’s innocence, but – shockingly – the white jury convicts him anyway. To Kill A Mockingbird was not only an award-winning book, but also an award-winning film that paints a picture of a nation divided by hate and suspicion.
No Country For Old Men
Cormac McCarthy’s dark comical novel proved to be the perfect material for quirky filmmakers the Coen Brothers. When Vietnam veteran Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) makes off with two million dollars, little does he know he has hit man Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) on his heels. Standing between Chigurh and Moss is the terse Sherriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones). No Country For Old Men not only shows how a great book can become a great but how the right script can make every actor on set up their game.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Based on the dramatic novel by Ken Kesey Cuckoo’s Nest follows Randle McMurphy, a criminal who has once again found himself in jail. Deciding that a mental hospital would be a much easier place to while away his sentence, Randle declares himself insane. Which is where things start to go horribly wrong. Running the ward is the unyielding, menacing Nurse Ratched who has pushed the ward into a state of submission. McMurphy sets himself against Ratched and so the battle begins. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, starring a superb Jack Nicholson, is a dark tale suffused with moments of laughter that echo the film’s source material perfectly.
Under The Skin
Adapted from Michael Faber’s 2000 novel and starring Scarlett Johansson, Under The Skin is a science-fiction thriller about an alien seductress sent by a large corporation to prey on innocent hitchhikers as she journeys through Scotland. Under The Skin is not just a thrilling novel anymore. It’s now an amazingly shocking and entrancing film.
Under The Skin is out in UK cinemas now.