We know the books are ‘better’ but seeing the movie version often enhances our understanding of the story, its characters and the subtle relationships between all the parts. And they give us another delicious chance to relive the great novel we just read. But which books adapted for the screen are coming to the movieplex or your stay-at-home theatre? Maybe we can read before we see (or do you like reading the book after the movie?).
A widely read book that is just out in theatres is the movie version of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. Set in the South in the early ’60s, it’s the story of three African American women who work as household maids in rich white homes. Wikipedia explains: “The stories of the three women intertwine to explain how life in Jackson, Mississippi revolves around ‘the help’, with complex relations of power, money, emotion, and intimacy typing together the white and black families of Jackson.”
The Hedgehog is an intriguing subtitled French comedy-drama about Paloma, a really bored 11-year-old who decides to kill herself on her birthday. Adapted from the best-seller The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, the pessimist child, you may be happy to note, questions her dour fate after entering unlikely friendships with her offbeat concierge and a neighbour.
I love a good spy thriller, so the film version of John Le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is much anticipated. “In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6’s echelons.” Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch star, among others. For curious minds everywhere, can you beat a movie where no one should be trusted, and everyone is a suspect? I like the movie’s tagline: “How do you find an enemy who is hidden right before your eyes?”
On a more sensitive and heart-rending topic, we can look forward to the movie version, starring John C. Reilly and Tilda Swinton, of We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. “The mother of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree tries to deal with her grief — and feelings of responsibility for her child’s actions — by writing to her estranged husband.” Think bullies at school turning your kid into a monster. Yikes!
The Descendents starring the ineffable George Clooney looks promising, and is due in theatres in late fall. Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, it’s the dramatic story of a father trying to reconnect with his two daughters after his estranged wife is left on life-support after a boating accident. A study of the impossible, parenting — the proverbial generational gap — while dealing with grief.
The movie Carnage, based on the play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, “tells the story of two sets of parents who decide to have a cordial meeting after their sons are involved in a schoolyard brawl.” This battle of wills is a lot more about the parents and spouses than the scrapping kids. Directed by Roman Polanski, and stars Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet.
These are just a few selections, but more are in the works. Books being turned into movies for release in 2012 include Yann Martel’s engaging Life of Pi, and The Hobbit by some guy named J.R.R. Tolkien. Heard he’s a pretty good writer!