If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100xs. When am I going to learn to stop watching film adaptions of books I’ve read? I’m usually quite disappointed, and in some cases (I’m looking at you Eat,Pray,Love and Ready Player One) angry with change in essential elements of the story. HOWEVER, this week the #BookishBloggersUnite are taking on our favorite adaptions, because, believe it or not, sometimes they just really get it right!
This past weekend in particular included watching three new book adaptions and I’ll admit it: it was 3-3! We’ll start with Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. This book was a fun story about an American-Chinese woman who goes to meet her Chinese boyfriend’s family in Singapore for the first time. The only catch? He didn’t tell her they were rich. Not just well-off, but as the title says, crazy rich. Rachel was raised by a single mother who came to America and worked two jobs to provide food for her. Nick, on the other extreme, is basically the #1 bachelor in all of Singapore. The movie adaption hit theaters recently with an outstanding all Asian cast, and it is a party personified. Look at this trailer!
Can we just talk about Henry Golding for a moment? Someone PLEASE cast him as Michael in The Kiss Quotient! I just love his presence on screen and he’s so much of how I read that character: a quiet sophistication and incredibly sexy. There is so much fun on screen that I got lost in and hardly noticed story changes at all. During the wedding scene I gasped out loud, and that mahjong game? So good. Awkwafina and Gemma Chan really stole this movie. They did a really great job with the spirit of Kwan’s story and for any haters of this movie (really though, how?), all I can say is ‘bawk bawk’.
The 2nd adaption I fell in love with was To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I think this movie can be summed up best by:
This movie came from Han’s much loved YA romcom series, and let me tell you: it does not disappoint. Lana Condor plays Lara Jean, who writes letters to boys when she has feelings so epic, she doesn’t know what else to do. The letters are her way of working through her emotions. There are 5 in total, including one to the boy next door (Josh), who *oops* also happens to be her sister’s boyfriend. Why address them? Good question, but we’re so glad she did because it brought us Peter Kavinsky. Noah Centineo does an amazing job of portraying Peter Kavinsky, the HS hearthrob who Lara Jean teams up with in a fake relationship to throw off Josh, and to help Peter make his ex (who also hates Lara Jean) jealous. Centineo is like watching Mark Ruffalo 2.0, and I adore me some Mark Ruffalo. The film adaption is done exceedingly well by Netflix, and you get to see Peter falling for Lara Jean instead of just through her eyes like you do in the book. There are some great callbacks to John Huges and that bashful splash scene? ADORABLE. Do yourself a favor and check it out ASAP.
Last but not least, I know I mentioned it briefly before, but we finally watched The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society on Netflix. It is based on one of my favorite books that I want to read over and over again. It focuses on a small island in the English Channel, Guernsey, that was occupied by the Germans during WWII. Juliet Ashton (played by the lovely Lily James) is a writer who gets a letter from a pig famer on the island. He has read a book that had her name and address inside, and he wants to know if she can help him find another book by the same author. Through their letters, we get introduced to the book club the book is titled after as well as a rich cast of characters that are not only endearing, but if you loved Downton Abbey, will make you smile with the mini reunion! I loved seeing the scenery of Guernsey again after we fell in love with the island during our trip recently. Even my husband still talks about wanting to go back there specifically. I thought it was really effective how they were able to show flashbacks to the stories Juliet slowly uncovers during her time with this new community. The only thing about this that held me back from being totally on board, is I really missed the inclusion of Remy’s character. I know they had to simplify some things to make the movie work (the book is a collection of letters so there isn’t any dialogue to work from), but for me personally, Juliet’s relationship with Dawsey has an important turning point as a result of Remy. Dawsey, however, is just as dreamy on screen as he is on paper and I immediately want to watch something else with him in it.