The year 2011 has been full of great films, many of which will soon be available to watch at home through directv.com. Somewhat uniquely, many of this year’s top films were actually adapted from books. This is not to say that it is uncommon, by any means, for Hollywood to use books as bases for films. However, this year so far has seen a wider than typical selection of adaptations, many of which were very well done in terms of both accuracy and entertainment value. For example, here is a rundown of 2011’s top 5 book-to-film adaptations so far.
5.) The Help, by Kathryn Stockett – The Help has been one of the most popular books in stores for some time now, and covers the subject of a young white woman helping several female black house workers in the south tell their stories. It is an emergence tale, in which for the first time oppressed and racially wronged people get the opportunity to expose those in the wrong. The film was received as quite accurate, despite moving a bit slowly at times – fans of the book will likely be emotionally moved.
4.) The Lincoln Lawyer – Michael Connelly’s crime/legal novel about a talented lawyer who gets a bit too mixed up with a dangerous client was for some time just another brilliant and engaging Connelly novel. However, the film adaptation, featuring Matthew Mcconaughey in the lead role, stood apart as a particularly intriguing story. The plot and characters are not so unique, but the atmosphere established in the film is admirable and enjoyable.
3.) Water For Elephants – This strange circus tale from Sara Gruen has, like The Help, dominated bookstores for a long time now. This was a challenging adaptation, because of its setting, and because of the age gap in the story’s romance. However, thanks to a shockingly real portrayal of this romance by Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, this film worked quite well, and was one of the nice surprises of 2011.
2.) Moneyball – Micahel Lewis’s 2003 baseball book follows Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane through a true story in which he implemented new scouting strategies to build a contending team with a very small budget. The film featured Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, and was not only true to the book (and therefore the true story), but also extremely enjoyable in a way that was difficult to define. You don’t need to be a baseball fanatic to love watching this film.
1.) It almost seems cheap to say so, but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II has to be considered the best (and most successful) film adaptation of 2011. The decision to split this book into two films was no doubt an attempt at making more money – but it was also somewhat necessary due to the epic and sprawling scale of J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece finale. The film was accurate, satisfying and, for fans of the series, sentimental.
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