Often, they would say that movie adaptations of novels or well-loved books can be a tricky business. Though certain plots and endings are pretty straightforward, many stories are left open for the reader’s interpretation. One would dare say that this could be the formula for a story to stand the test of time and remain relevant today and in the future. Some stories, however, effortlessly catch readers’ attention because of their controversial take on social issues. As it seems, the stories that tell what others wouldn’t are more likely to get a motion picture adaptation.
We listed some movie adaptations that we think deserved more attention than they had when they were released. That crosses out ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ if you expect it to be on the list. Excluding movies straight out of children’s fantasy books, we carefully picked three films you should include on your watchlist. A gentle reminder that some of them, if not all, can be too graphic and disturbing. Viewers’ discretion, as always, is advised.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011)
Red is the color of a mother giving birth and the color of death brought upon by an offspring.
There are only a few movie adaptations that land on the money. Lynne Ramsay’s movie adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s 2003 novel of the same name embodied the dilemma of a single parent raising a psychopath teenage son as she came to terms with the aftermath of a school shooting orchestrated by her son. Tilda Swinton gave an impeccable and believable portrayal of the harrowing after-effects of parenting gone wrong. While the title wants us to talk about Kevin, the story is actually about Eva and how she bears the internal weight of her son’s actions.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (2009)
“Let the wild rumpus start!”
One exemption to our exclusion of movies based on children’s books is Where The Wild Things Are, mainly because this 1963 picture book by Maurice Sendak became controversial as it was believed that the story is psychologically damaging to children. The supernatural-themed illustration didn’t help in its case and ended up being banned. The movie managed to show another angle to this frowned-upon book. As Francis Spufford cites, it is an entirely deliberate and beautiful use of the psychoanalytic journey of anger. The movie, just like the book, balanced the lessons children and parents need to learn about punishment and anger.
VERONIKA DECIDES TO DIE (2009)
“The majority of people who attempt suicide will repeat that attempt until they succeed.”
To this day, I still feel conflicted about the movie adaptation of this 1998 Paulo Coelho novel. Maybe it’s the fact that I could no longer see Sarah Michelle Gellar as anyone other than Buffy the Vampire Slayer or that I have read the book countless times—I could run the entire story in my head with no pauses. But we include it on this short list solely for one reason; the lesson is timeless—awareness of life. Emptiness can take a toll on anyone regardless of how well-put together, successful, or happy we try to make ourselves believe. In some lucky cases, a rude awakening can hit us back to appreciate the life we have and choose to carry on.