10 Best Book-To-Movie Adaptations of the 2000s

There’s nothing quite as magical as sitting down in a nice, quiet spot with a good book to read and being completely transported into another world. Great novels can engulf readers’ imaginations, giving understanding to how a character feels, thinks, and acts, almost to the point that the character becomes a close friend, someone you’ve known forever.

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So when great written stories are brought to the big screen it can be nerve-wracking, to say the least. It isn’t always done right. Some films try to change the story’s structure or worse yet the beloved characters, readers disappointed and left thinking of leaving what could have been. Then there are the films that can breathe new life into the story, staying true to its source. Those are the movies that hold a special place in book readers’ hearts.

‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ (2006)


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The Pursuit of Happyness directed by Gabriele Muccino, tells the real-life story of Chris Gardner (Will Smith). Based on the book of the same title by Gardner and Quincy TroupeGardner and his five-year-old son, Christopher (Jaden Smith), struggle through poverty and homelessness in San Francisco during the early 1980s. The film encompasses the themes of poverty, struggle, persistence, and the American Dream.

Driven by the Smith duo, who both hold their weight in this emotional tale of father and son, The Pursuit of Happyness excels when it comes down to the dynamic between the two. It is raw and emotionally charged, showing the lengths a father will go to provide a better life for his son. Making for an excellent film based on an incredible book and true story.

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‘Fantastic Mr.’ Fox’ (2009)


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Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightful, animated comedy based on Roald Dahl’s children’s book of the same name. Fantastic Mr. Fox tells the tale of Mr. Fox (George Clooney), a renounced thief turned newspaper columnist that can’t help but return to his old ways of kleptomania, which eventually leads to him and his family being chased out of their homes by three farmers.

Mixing a blend of eye-catching stop-motion animation, witty humor, and Anderson’s unique stylized direction, Mr. Fox is a perfect film for all ages to enjoy.


‘Children of Men’ (2006)


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There’s nothing quite as eye-opening as a good apocalyptic tale about humanity’s doomed future. There aren’t any aliens coming down to destroy the world, atomic bombs, or bands of crazed nomadic bikers that ended society in Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Menbut something much more frightening: the inevitable extinction of all humanity.

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Based on the book of the same name by PD James, women all around the world have become infertile. Human numbers are now in decline with no hope of stopping it. So when Theo Faron, (Clive Owen), discovers the only pregnant woman in the world, he will do anything in his power to help her escape from those that would take her unborn child for their own personal gain. Weaving a tale of redemption, sacrifice, hope, and the perseverance of the human spirit, Children of Men is an apocalyptic tale you don’t want to miss.


‘American Psycho’ (2000)


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Patrick Bateman, played by the always incredible Christian Bale, may be one of the most unnerving characters brought to the big screen. Based on the book of the same name by Brett Easton Ellis, American Psycho Focuses on the life of Bateman, a completely callous, self-absorbed, corporate hotshot that fantasizes about a murder and obsesses over business cards, he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A monster is hidden behind his normal exterior: his rage-filled lust for murder is suppressed deep down within him just waiting to break out.

What makes Bateman such a compelling protagonist is his two-sided nature. He appears on the surface to be just another stuck-up businessman with lots of friends and a gorgeous fiancé (Reese Witherspoon), but through the use of narration, his inner monologues slowly reveal him to be a highly unstable serial killer. He’s the type of character you might pass on the street who seems like a regular person, but underneath is pure evil. He could be anyone, making him a truly captivating character to watch and one of the most terrifying and unsettling villains.


‘The Road’ (2009)


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The Roaddirected by John Hillcoat and based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, is another apocalyptic tale from the 2000s about humanity’s struggle to survive against any odds. The story centers around Man, (Viggo Mortensen) and his son, Boy, (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as they traverse the American wasteland in search of shelter.

The Road is a raw, realistic, take on the apocalypse where humans must do terrible things to survive. It is as haunting as it is heartbreaking. With no hope in sight, the Man and Boy continue down their path of survival. It’s about humanity and how far one is willing to go to survive even when there isn’t much left to live for.

‘Harry Potter’ (2001-2011)


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The Harry Potter Series is a cultural phenomenon that captures the hearts of many young readers and moviegoers alike. Based on the book series by J.K. Rowling, it’s the classic tale of the hero’s journey with the premise of a young boy training to be a wizard, making his way through the wonderful world of magic. Harry Potter, (Daniel Radcliffe) is the Chosen One, the one destined to stop the evil plagueing the wizarding world in the form of He Who Shall Not Be Named.

It quickly became one of the best-selling franchises of all time, both in books and movies. The series is a perfect example of a book-adapted film done right, keeping true to the essence of the books and its characters, while expanding the mythos with interesting set-pieces and dazzling visuals that only the medium of film can provide.

‘There Will Be Blood’ (2007)


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Is there a more dedicated actor than Daniel Day-Lewis? The man completely submerges himself in his roles. He isn’t just playing a character, he is that character. A true method actor, Lewis is known for going above and beyond to get into character, and it always pays off. This is especially the case in Paul Thomas Anderson’s critically acclaimed masterpiece, There Will Be Blood.

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Loosely based on the novel Oil! by journalist Upton Sinclair, There Will Be Blood Tells the story of a rags-to-riches oil baron named Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis). Plainview will do whatever it takes to get what he wants, whether it’s stealing land from poor farmers, using his adopted deaf son as a tool for sympathy, or drinking everyone’s milkshake. Day-Lewis provides a riveting performance for one of the best-written characters in modern cinema.

‘City of God’ (2002)


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City of Goddirected by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund, tells the story of two boys from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro that take drastically different paths. One becomes an aspiring photographer, escaping from the criminal elements around him, and the other turns into one of the most ruthless drug kingpins seen on film.

Inspired by true events and based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Paulo Linsthe film offers an intense, disturbing, violent look at life in Brazil’s crime-ridden favelas during the 1970s and 80s. With a high-octane pace, gritty and up-close camera angles, and compelling three-dimensional characters City of God makes for a film you can’t look away from no matter how hard you try.

‘No Country for Old Men’ (2008)


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How much have you ever lost in a coin toss? Tall, mysterious, and incredibly homicidal, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) is the definition of “chaos walking.” An unstoppable force that decides people’s fates on the simple flip of a coin. Chigurh is creepy, chaotic, and wildly entertaining to watch. Bardem brings a truly chilling performance to an unforgettable villain.

Based on the book of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men follows Josh Brolin’s Llewelyn Moss as he is hunted down by this mop-headed killer after finding a suitcase filled with millions of dollars belonging to a drug cartel. Moss tries to flee with the money only to be relentlessly chased down by Chigurh, making for a thrilling edge-of-your-seat ride that will leave you wanting more when the credits roll.

‘The Lord of the Rings’ (2001-2003)


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There’s only one word that comes to mind when thinking of Peter Jackson’s acclaimed Middle-earth trilogy: Epic. Epic in every sense of the word, from the characters, the music, the landscapes, to the themes of friendship, honor, and fighting for what’s good in the world.

The Lord of the Rings is a masterclass on how to bring a book to life on the big screen. Staying mostly true to the source material, Jackson manages to encapsulate JRR Tolkien’s Incredibly detailed world with stunning visuals and memorable performances from an all-star cast.

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