What’s on: movies based on hit books
Movies and series that first made their names in novel form are on circuit right now
Movies and series that first made their names in novel form are on circuit right now. Here are a couple that are particularly noteworthy.
The film version of acclaimed US author Meg Wolitzer’s The Wife is already garnering Oscar buzz. (She also wrote The Position and The Female Persuasion.) The hype is mainly about Glenn Close’s portrayal of Joan Castleman, a woman who has taken a back seat to her husband, an author who is about to accept the Nobel prize in literature. The couple heads to Stockholm for the award ceremony, and that’s when things take a turn.
This is a film about marriage, choice and sacrifice.
Crazy Rich Asians
Kevin Kwan’s triptych of books, Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems have been a runaway success, and it seems the film version of the first of these hits is destined for similar heights.
Here’s the setup: Rachel Chu is a college professor in New York. Her boyfriend, Nick, also an academic, takes her to Singapore to meet the family. It turns out his clan is the biggest property developer in the country, and what ensues includes crazy scenery, fashion and loads of bling — juxtaposed with good old-fashioned drama, romance and some sharp comedy.
The fantastic Michelle Yeoh plays Nick’s snooty, icy mom Eleanor. Other cast highlights include Nico Santos and Ken Jeong.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Ten years after the hit book of the same title by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows was published, this charming tale has made it to celluloid. The story bounces between the Channel island of Guernsey, which was occupied by the Germans during World War 2, and post-war London, where a young writer, Juliet Ashton (played by the lovely Lily James) lives. It’s got all you want from a period film — drama, romance, heartache, bravery and lots of heart. The FM preferred the book to the film, but the styling and costumes are marvellous and the movie’s great cast includes Penelope Wilton and Tom Courtenay, as well as Jessica Brown Findlay of Downton Abbey fame.
On Chesil Beach
This is not one to watch (or read) if you’re in the mood for anything remotely upbeat or feel-good. It’s based on a novella by Ian McEwan, who specialises in devastating. In this instance, expect issues of class, regret and young love gone horribly awry. Masterful Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, who also starred in the adaptation of McEwan’s Atonement, takes the lead role alongside young Brit Billy Howle. The cinematography is bleak but beautiful — much like the original narrative it references.
The film adaptation of another McEwan hit, The Children Act, will be in cinemas in late September. It stars Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci and is set to be a knockout.