10 Most Interesting Book-to-Screen Movie Adaptations from 2022: The year 2022 saw a plethora of books being made into films, from the more popular adaptations of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile (1937) and Jane Austen’s Persuasion (1818) to the lesser-known short story by Joe Hill called The Black Phone. These adaptations have once again opened up the debate about the book v/s the movie. Which side are we on? Well, as lovers of literary adaptations, we can only vouch for good films and great books. Below is a curated list of the most interesting book-to-screen movie adaptations from 2022 that deserve to be on your reading list right away. These books vary in genre – from graphic novels and historical dramas to horror comedies and fictional biography. They promise to snap you out of a reading slump and engage you in fine storytelling. These are books for your everyday moods.
Happy reading 🙂
10. Marry Me (Vol 1.) by Bobby Crosby (2007)
This indie webcomic published by Keenspot reads like a rom-com for those looking for a light read to accompany them on a journey. It follows the story of Superstar Stasia, who gets married to Guy, a high-school counselor, at her concert holding a ‘Marry Me’ sign. The latter barely has an idea about Statsia’s fame and music. In the course of the story, Stasia’s insecurities, disappointments, and the control of her father become clear to the readers. The story has a racist, white-savior undertone that may be difficult to overlook fifteen years after its first publication.
Graphic novels aren’t typically associated with stories of romance; hence, the book is a welcome break. Further, the illustrations by Remy “Eisu” Mokhtar follow the style of a manga and make it an interesting genre digression. The premise is compelling; its compact but engaging webcomic storytelling format has found several admirers over the years. Marry Me has been adapted into a rom-com featuring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in 2022 and is the first of its kind adaptation. The film narrative tweaks the main story a little to accommodate new characters because the leads are much older than the book characters. It created quite a buzz on Valentine’s Day weekend this year.
9. Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico (1958)
The first in the series of four books based on the adventures of a British working-class woman, Ada Harris, this book was first published by Doubleday as Flowers for Mrs. Harris. The plot follows Mrs. Harris, who takes a trip to the Dior House in Paris to buy herself an evening gown like the one she had spotted (and immediately fallen in love with) in her employer’s wardrobe. In her pursuit of a dress, she meets an interested French marquis and an up-and-coming actress who impact the final outcome of her trip.
The story is like a heartwarming sentimental fable with just enough twists to keep you engaged till the last pages. Each of the characters in this book – from Lady Dant to Mme Colbert – reflects the old-fashioned world of the 1950s to light-hearted perfection. Paul Gallico’s writing has a straightforward but detailed narrative bent, drawing out the lives and the time picturesquely. The simplicity of Mrs. Harris’ tale has inspired several book-to-screen adaptations in the past 70 years, including the latest 2022 film directed by Anthony Fabian, starring Lesley Manville in the titular role.
8. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix (2016)
It is a much-loved supernatural horror novel focusing on two childhood best friends, Abby and Gretchen. Their relationship takes a turn when Abby realizes that a demon may possess Gretchen. The latter disappears into the woods when Abby and Gretchen are hanging out at a lake house with their friends, and she comes back hours later as a changed human being. The book follows Abby’s quest to save Gretchen’s life which puts their friendship to the test.
The best thing about this novel is Hendrix’s heartwarming prose that balances the elements of horror and comedy equally well. It seeks to address a particular readership familiar with the hype around E.T. and the 80s sitcom; its theme of friendship and its metaphorical understanding of the act of ‘possession’ makes it a book that will find a unanimous nod of appreciation among readers of all ages. The 2022 film adaptation of this tongue-in-cheek horror comedy by Damon Thomas, starring Elsie Fischer and Amiah Miller, keeps up with the overarching theme of Satanism and emanates an 80s-horror-movie vibe.
7. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (2016)
Donoghue crafts a period piece in this charming novel, taking us back to the period after the Crimean War in the Irish Midlands in the 19th century. The story follows Lib Wright, an English nurse, who has been summoned from London to observe a miracle that centers around 11-year-old Anna. Soon after, she realizes that the miracle is far from being supernatural; with the help of a visiting journalist, she sets out to uncover the truth.
The beauty of this book lies in the way the atmosphere shapes the elements of mystery in the story. The dark and rainy rural landscape complements the themes of religious fanaticism and the rampant sexism that dominated the Irish society of the contemporary period. It is almost Gothic in how it unfurls each layer of the story, stressing Lib Wright’s otherness in the town, and is an example of gorgeously written prose. The 2022 film adaptation of this book by Sebastian Leo, starring Florence Pugh, Tom Burke, and Elaine Cassidy, comes very close to doing justice to this slow-burn novel that attempts to fuse history and fiction into a delicate mix.
6. Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates (2000)
It is a lengthy and strictly fictional biographical account of the infamous life of the American actress Marilyn Monroe or Norma Jeane Baker by Ecco Publication. It contested as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (2001) and the National Book Award (2000). The book expertly handles the saga of this popular actress, centering the book around her public appearances, private relationships, and the patriarchal structures of the film industry that she chose to be a part of. It talks about the limelight she enjoyed as a global sex symbol and the riddling world of drugs she got sucked into, sabotaging her private relationships and ultimately hurtling towards a tragic end.
This book simultaneously redefines the genre of a new-age epic, making Oates appear as a misogynist who is burning down the last bit of humanity that the public commonly associates with the aura of the famous actress. Needless to say, it is an engaging prose but controversial book. There are gloating references to Monroe’s body and the obsession with it among her lurid fan base. It is brutal and dark and feeds the curiosity of the masses, just like its equally controversial and sub-par 2022 adaptation by Andrew Dominik, starring Ana de Armas in the titular role.
Related: 8 Films To Watch If You Like ‘blonde’ On Netflix
5. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber (1965)
It is a children’s book first published as a sequel to the book, The House on East 88th Street. The series follows the story of Lyle, the crocodile, who lives in a Victorian house owned by Mrs. Primm and her family. All is well until one nosey neighbor (and her pet cat) finds Lyle’s presence in the neighborhood objectionable, claiming that he belongs to a zoo.
This heartwarming book is a children’s classic that focuses on the topics of kindness and heroism of its unusual protagonist. Lyle walks, skates, shops, and wears a skin of moldy green that makes him the most appealing pet in pop culture, reminding one very much of the white rat, Stuart Little, and his adventures. Waber’s language in this book is a little wordy, but the story unknots the complexities for children quite simply. The whimsical tale has been made into a live-action adaptation in 2022 with well-integrated CGI animals and some upbeat songs. Bonus: It makes for a great family movie time with children!
4. Maria Bettle by Kotaro Isaka (2010)
It is a thriller novel, translated into English by Sam Malissa as The Bullet Train, and it is the second book in the Hitman trilogy written by Isaka. It follows the story of Yuichi Kimura, who boards a high-speed train at the Tokyo station. He aims to take revenge against The Prince, a.k.a. Satoshi Oji, the guy responsible for pushing his 6-year-old son to the brink of death. However, the journey takes a thrilling turn as more hitmen and assassins pour in to avenge themselves.
This bestselling novel is famous for its dark comedy elements. It is a page-turner that promises to keep you entertained with its quirky bunch of multifaceted characters while constantly hinging the situations around moral and ethical issues. Isaka, however, makes a few broad mental leaps in the process. This philosophical-parable-meets-pulp-fiction book inspired a 2022 Hollywood film, Bullet Train, directed by David Leitch, starring Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Lady Gaga, and Aaron Taylor Johnson, among a dozen other stars.
Related: 9 Films To Watch If You Like Bullet Train (2022)
3. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence (1928)
It is one of the most famous books by Lawrence and found itself in the heart of controversy across several western countries upon its initial release. It was banned for obscenity and booked under a trial regarding the same, becoming publicly accessible in the UK only in 1960. It revolves around the story of Mrs. Chatterley, who becomes involved in an extramarital affair with the gamekeeper Mellors while living at her physically-disabled husband’s estate in Nottinghamshire, England.
The story reflects the post-World War I sentiments and the moral and emotional crisis that the Western world was undergoing in the first half of the early 20th century. The class divide and the contemporary ideas of morality governing the British aristocratic society also run as a fine thread of subplots in the book. Lawrence’s writing has a rawness that doesn’t shy away from talking about the sexual aggressions of love that Lady Chatterley experiences and engages. The erotic love in the book evokes a call to man’s primal instincts, a way of retracing one’s steps to nature. The popularity of this book has called for several kinds of retellings and adaptations for the screen since then, including the latest Netflix adaptation starring Emma Cornin and Jack O’Connell.
Related: 5 Movies To Watch Like Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2022) On Netflix
2. She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (2019)
It is a non-fiction book by two New York Times investigative reporters that is monumental for having spurred the MeToo movement. It exposes the film producer Harvey Weinstein, who is believed to have sexually abused and assaulted over 80 women over a period of 30 years. The journalists also pose a set of pertinent questions about sexual misconduct that are meant to help the readers re-evaluate their ideas about sexual harassment and the grey areas surrounding it. The narrative draws light on how the structures of power existing in society facilitated the behavior of Weinstein.
The book is credited for being a masterful account of reportage and investigative journalism in general. In short, it is a brave book. While the first part of the book chronicles in detail the investigation around Weinstein, the second part is a more dramatic outlining of how the #MeToo movement ensued and features interview excerpts from participating women. The subject matter is polarising and has garnered widespread criticism and acclaim. The book got adapted into a biographical drama by director Maria Schrader and writer Rebecca Lenkiewicz, starring Carey Mulligan and Zie Kazan.
1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (1929)
It is a German-language classic that focuses on the horrors of World War I. It is told from the perspective of naive schoolboys as they decide to enroll themselves as soldiers in the war. At the center of the storytelling are Paul Bäumer and three other German boys – Albert, Leer, and Müller. Together, they brave the trenches and take pleasure in enjoying the ration of food and cigarettes as more and more soldiers around them fall victim to the war until the war starts to corner and threaten their own lives.
This book, along with its sequel called The Road Back, were among the many titles to be banned and burned during the Nazi occupation of Germany because they move away from the glorification of war and the life of a German soldier at the front. The stories of these four boys reflect the gradual loss of innocence and growing disenchantment with the war. As you leaf through the pages, Remarque and his English translator do a fantastic job of holding up the anomaly of a wartime crisis, constantly tapping into the patriotic zeal of the higher rank officials and instructors. The 2022 German-language film based on this book, directed by Edward Berger, does a fair job of holding up the intensity of the war, making some additions around the armistice negotiations originally not found in the book.
A review on High On Films reads, “The best anti-war statement one can make is depicting the war as it is. As closely as detailed as possible. That is what Erich Maria Remarque, a German war veteran of World War I, did with his landmark novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” in 1929.”
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