Here’s my top five list of movies and television series that are at least as good as the books*, and in some cases better.
This isn’t to say all of these adaptations are “just like the book.” In most cases, these films are wonderful because they stayed true to the spirit of the book while exploring their own vision.
Check out the list and let me know what you think.
- Pride & Prejudice (Both the BBC Miniseries AND Pemberley Digital’s Lizzie Bennet Diaries)
I’m not sorry, not even a little, for kicking this list off with one of my all time favorite adaptations. I adore all six hours of the BBC’s P & P miniseries. Six hours of Colin Firth being the most arrogant and yet adorable Mr. Darcy?! Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.
But I also absolutely LOVE The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, released as a web series on YouTube back in 2012. This modern retelling won my heart, and made me appreciate characters I’d never had much patience for, like Lydia Bennet and Charlotte Lucas.
- The Little Prince (Netflix original movie)
This sweet movie surprised me with it’s creativity, heart, and beauty. I’ve loved The Little Prince since I was fourteen-years-old (yes, that was a long time ago), and to see it come to life like this was outstanding.
- A Monster Calls
Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls was a wrecking ball of a book for me. And I mean that in the very best way. This beautiful story about a boy dealing with his mother’s cancer and the scary emotions he was feeling felt absolutely true to me. It was the sort of book that I begged loved ones to read so that I could talk to them about it. The film beautifully captured everything I loved about the book. So, if you’re one of those loved ones who said you were going to read the book, and you just never got around to it, here’s your out. Watch the movie.
- A Wrinkle in Time
This was the movie I’d been waiting thirty years to see. And it did not disappoint me. Not even a little.
I know a lot of people didn’t like A Wrinkle in Time, but for me, it was just what I needed in the exact moment I needed it. Which is exactly how the book felt when I first discovered it as a thirteen-year-old. Ava Duvernay led the charge and made this film a modern story that still resounded with the themes of trusting yourself, embracing your flaws, and never giving your hope over to the darkness.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix original series)
I LOVE THIS SERIES AND I DON’T EVEN CARE THAT I’M SHOUTING IN YOUR EYEBALLS RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE IT!
This series, starring Neil Patrick Harris (I loved you as Doogie and I love you still today, Mr. Harris), is darkly comedic, beautiful, and heart wrenching. I’ll stop talking now so you can hurry and go watch it.
*Just a note to say that I agree with everyone that the Harry Potter movies are wonderful fun and would go well on this list, but since everyone already knows I’m a huge Potterhead, I thought I’d talk about some of the other things I fangirl over. #HP4EVER
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“Readers will fall in love with Becca, Max, Darby, and other characters as their soft, awkward moments of adolescence resonate throughout the prose. A successful story of a young woman’s journey through grief.” -Kirkus Review
Becca Hanson was never able to make sense of the real world. When her best friend Charlotte died, she gave up on it altogether. Fortunately, Becca can count on her books to escape—to other times, other places, other people…
Until she meets Max Herrera. He’s experienced loss, too, and his gorgeous, dark eyes see Becca the way no one else in school can.
As it turns out, kissing is a lot better in real life than on a page. But love and life are a lot more complicated in the real world…and happy endings aren’t always guaranteed.
The companion novel to Love and Other Unknown Variables is an exploration of loss and regret, of kissing and love, and most importantly, a celebration of hope and discovering a life worth living again.
Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife and mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. Math makes her break out in a sweat. Love and Other Unknown Variables is her debut novel. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.