The Best Movies Based on Books of All Time (part 2)
The Color Purple (1985)
Based on: The searing and seminal 1983 novel of Alice Walker.
Back cover blurb: Celie (by Whoopi Goldberg) writes letters that detail her painful life in Georgia, her husband’s sometimes-mistress, Shug (by Margaret Avery), her relationships with her husband’s son’s wife, Sofia (by Oprah Winfrey), and her separation from her sister, Nettie (by Akosua Busia). The Color Purple was the first film of Whoopi Goldberg and she received her first Oscar nomination for it.
Key difference: The novel delves deeper into the inner lives of the women in Celie’s life and draw a more complex picture of the relationships that they share.
Based on: The 2001 metafictional novel of the same name by Ian McEwan.
Back cover blurb: Imaginative and precocious Briony (by Saoirse Ronan) stumbles upon her sister and her boyfriend (by Keira Knightley and James McAvoy) in an intimate moment. Briony misinterprets what’s happening and thus, that sets in motion a tragic chain of events affecting all of them for years.
Key difference: McEwan’s book is deliciously interior and cerebral, giving the characters’ questions, conflicts, and changes their vigorous life. Joe Wright’s movie has to externalize these inner workings and also use a spare, lush cinematic language in order to do so.
The book Atonement by Ian McEwan is based on another book, What Maisie Knew of Henry James.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Based on: The 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
Back cover blurb: Kansas farmgirl Dorothy (by Judy Garland) is droven by tornado to a magical land where she murders someone immediately and steals her shoes. Later she forms a gang and sets off to storm a city with a several demands for the local wizard.
Key difference: The iconic ruby red slippers of Dorothy were silver in the book. In the movie, the horses in Emerald City were colored with Jell-O crystals.