Great films are often inspired by great books, which is really the best of both worlds. Those who haven’t read the books are able to enjoy the story, while those who read the book first get to engage in heated debate on which was better: the book or the movie? Books-to-movies help increase readership of the source books, which means long library wait lists. Consider this our helping hand so you can place your library hold before the films come to the theatre.
Note: all of these films currently are scheduled for release in the fall and winter of 2018 but, of course, unforeseen circumstances could change any of their release dates. But the great news is all the books are available for you to read right away, so what are you waiting for?
books to movies: children’s and ya
The Hate U Give
Directed by George Tillman, Jr.
Starring Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, and Russell Hornsby
Based on the massive hit YA novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, this film follows teenaged Starr, who witnesses her friend being killed by a police officer, and then must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Directed by Eli Roth
Starring Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, and Lorenza Izzo
While this live action adaptation won’t have the infamously spooky illustrations of John Bellairs’s The House with a Clock in Its Walls, the film’s cast and production values seem poised to recreate the sense of fright.
Mary Poppins Returns
Directed by Rob Marshall
Starring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Meryl Streep
Based upon the Mary Poppins stories by P.L. Travers, including Mary Poppins Comes Back. The practically perfect nanny arrives in Depression-era London to lend a hand to the now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael’s three children.
Directed by Christian Rivers
Starring Hugo Weaving, Stephen Lang, and Robert Sheehan
This film adaptation of Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines series takes place in a desolate Earth where cities survive by moving around on giant wheels, attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.
Books to movies: true stories
Directed by Felix Van Groeningen
Starring Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, and Maura Tierney
Based on the overlapping memoirs Beautiful Boy by Martin Sheff and Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff, the film chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.
Directed by Joel Edgerton
Starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Joel Edgerton
Based on Gerrard Conley’s memoir Boy Erased, this film shares the story of a Baptist preacher’s son, forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program after being forcibly outed to his parents.
Can You Ever Forgive Me
Directed by Marielle Heller
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, and Dolly Wells
Adapted from Lee Israel’s memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me, this film shows what happens when a best-selling celebrity biographer turns her art form to deception.
Directed by Damien Chazelle
Starring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, and Jason Clarke
Based on James R. Hansen’s award-winning biography First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, this film focuses on the legendary space mission that led Armstrong to become the first man to walk on the Moon.
Directed by Craig William Macneill
Starring Kristen Stewart, Chloë Sevigny, and Kim Dickens
A psychological thriller based on the infamous 1892 murders of the Borden family. Learn more about the crime in the recent thriller novel See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (or try one of these other recent Lizzie Borden books).
Directed by Nandita Das
Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rasika Dugal, Tahir Raj Bhasin
Set in the 1940s, this film is based on the life of Pakistani writer Saadat Hasan Manto. Many of his pieces, originally written in Urdu, are available in English translation in compilations such as Bombay Stories and Bitter Fruit: The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto.
Vita & Virginia
Directed by Chanya Button
Starring Gemma Arterton, Elizabeth Debicki, and Rupert Penry-Jones
This film is based on the fascinating true story about the love affair between socialite and popular author Vita Sackville-West and literary icon Virginia Woolf. Sackville-West’s androgynous appearance served as the inspiration for the protagonist in Woolf’s Orlando: A Biography, while her frequent absences inspired the theme of romantic longing in Woolf’s To The Lighthouse.
Books to movies: drama
Directed by Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja
Starring Mattias Appelqvist, Nicole Ardizzone, and Emma Broomé
In this film, based on the epic poem Aniara by Swedish Nobel Prize winner Harry Martinson, a spaceship carrying settlers to Mars is knocked off course, causing the consumption-obsessed passengers to consider their place in the universe.
Directed by Paul Weitz
Starring Julianne Moore, Christopher Lambert, and Ken Watanabe
Based on Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, this film is about a world-renowned opera singer who becomes trapped in a hostage situation when she’s invited to perform for a wealthy industrialist in South America.
The Front Runner
Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, and Kaitlyn Dever
In this adaptation of Matt Bai’s nonfiction book All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid, Senator Gary Hart’s presidential campaign in 1988 is derailed when he’s caught in a scandalous love affair.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web
Directed by Fede Alvarez
Starring Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks, and Stephen Merchant
Based on The Girl in the Spider’s Web, by David Lagercrantz, this intense thriller finds computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.
The Good Girls
Directed by Alejandra Márquez Abella
Starring Ilse Salas, Flavio Medina, and Cassandra Ciangherotti
Set during the 1982 economic crisis in Mexico, this film revolves around a wealthy couple grappling with the prospects of financial uncertainty. Based on the novel Las Niñas Bien by María Guadalupe Loaeza.
Directed by Peter Farrelly
Starring Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, and Viggo Mortensen
This film follows a working-class Italian American bouncer working as the driver of an African American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South. The film’s title and subject matter relate to The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide published annually from 1936 to 1966. This publication helped black travelers find lodging and businesses that weren’t segregated.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Directed by Barry Jenkins
Starring KiKi Layne, Stephan James, and Regina King
Based on If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin, the film tells the story of a woman in Harlem desperately scrambling to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime, while carrying their first child.
The Little Stranger
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson
Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, and Charlotte Rampling
In this adaptation of Sarah Waters’s gothic novel The Little Stranger, a doctor is called to visit a crumbling manor and strange things begin to occur.
Directed by Steve McQueen
Starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Debicki
Based on the novel Widows by Lynda LaPlante, this film shares the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. The women decide to take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
Directed by Björn Runge
Starring Glenn Close, Max Irons, and Christian Slater
A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in this adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s novel The Wife.
Books to movies: costume dramas
Directed by Wash Westmoreland
Starring Keira Knightley, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Dominic West
Based on the life of the celebrated French novelist known professionally as Colette, the film shows how the author fights to make her talents known, challenging gender norms. Get a taste for the author’s work in compilations such as The Complete Claudine, The Collected Stories of Colette, and Gigi, Julie de Carneilha, and Chance Acquaintances: Three Short Novels.
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone
Based on the life of Anne, Queen of England, this film explores the real-life rivalry between two women, both determined to be the closest friends of England’s frail Queen Anne. Learn more about all three women in biographies such as The Favourite: Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, by Ophelia Field.
Mary, Queen of Scots
Directed by Josie Rourke
Starring Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, and Gemma Chan
This retelling of the rivalry between the Scottish Queen and her cousin, England’s Queen Elizabeth I, is based on the recent biography Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy
The Outlaw king
Directed by David Mackenzie
Starring Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Florence Pugh
This new historical epic is based on the life of the 14th Century Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert The Bruce. Robert is the subject of numerous biographies, including the upcoming King and Outlaw: The Real Robert the Bruce, by Chris Brown.
The Sisters Brothers
Directed by Jacques Audiard
Starring John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jake Gyllenhaal
This unconventional Western movie is based on the unconventional Western novel The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. In both the book and film, a gold prospector is chased by an infamous duo of assassins through 1850s Oregon.
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