Works of literature have been inspiring movies since the first moving pictures ran through a film projector. But in a year that has been noticeably impacted by sequels and reboots of comic books, it’s heartening to realize that the humble novel can still provide two hours of entertainment on the screen. Some of these films are in their DVD release, so you can enjoy them at home if you missed them in the theatre.
The Lincoln Lawyer
The Lincoln Lawyer
is a legal thriller by hugely successful author Michael Connelly, whose work also provided the basis for the Clint Eastwood film Blood Work
from 2002. The Lincoln Lawyer
follows the story of attorney Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) who conducts business out of the back of an old Lincoln Town Car. A wealthy Beverly Hills client provides the case of his career, but it proves to be more than he anticipated. The March 2011 film adaptation features a solid cast along with McConaughey: Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy and Marisa Tomei also star. The film was so successful that ABC commissioned a pilot based on it.
Water For Elephants
Water for Elephants is the movie based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Sara Gruen. This engaging story tells the tale of Jacob Jankowski, a young Polish-American student of veterinary medicine, whose parents were killed in a car wreck. In order to continue caring for large animals, Jacob takes a job with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show, a travelling circus. The stories and characters from the circus provide the backdrop, as the setting toggles back and forth from the 1930s to the current day, where Jacob is a patient in a nursing home. The film debuted in April of 2011 and featured performances from Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, as well as Cristoph Waltz, who was one of the most chilling characters in the Quentin Tarantino film Inglorious Basterds.
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games is the first book in Suzanne Collins’ newest trilogy since her New York Times best selling series The Underland Chronicles. The novel takes place in the ruins of former North America in the nation of Panem, a capitol surrounded by 12 districts. Part of the surrender terms of the outlying districts mandate that each district send one boy and girl to appear in an annual event called “The Hunger Games," a fight to death on live television. The film was released in March of 2012 and proved to be a phenomenal success in its opening weekend, the largest box office for any film ever released out of the traditional summer blockbuster season. It's directed by Gary Ross and stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence, Wes Bentley and Woody Harrelson.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a popular novel about a young white woman in 1960s Mississippi and a group of black maids who work for her friends’ families. It depicts the women’s struggles as they confront societal limitations and challenges in their culture. It's written from the perspective of an aspiring young writer during the American Civil Rights Movement. The film was released in August 2011 to critical and box office success, winning several awards for actress Octavia Spence. The film was written and directed by Tate Taylor and also stars Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain.
It’s emboldening to know that novels still provide original stories that can successfully be turned into amazing films. There’s still time to see one of these releases in the theatre, but if you missed them in their initial release, they’re available on DVD and downloadable for most popular mobile devices and tablets.