2015 Books to Movies

First off, I’m excited that two movies I reviewed months ago last year and which I’d given top ripples both won the Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Award last night: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Musical or Comedy) and Boyhood (Drama). The Golden Globe Awards marks the new year with excitement and glamour, an apt recognition of fine films made in the previous year, as we eagerly await the ultimate, the Academy Awards. That will be a final wrap for 2014 movies. So what is in-store for us in 2015? For those familiar with Ripple Effects, one of my focus is on books being turned into movies. The Books Into Films posts are some of the most popular on this blog. I’m particularly interested in the adaptation process, how one art form is transposed into another medium. What works, what doesn’t? And above all, how to appreciate each on its own terms. Here is my first list of books to read (or reread) before you go and watch the movie, all scheduled to be released in 2015, some with known dates, some more tentative. A second list will appear in the online review magazine Shiny New Books come January 29.


Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie americanah The acclaimed novel by the award-winning author of Half of the Yellow Sun, Americanah tells a story that crosses three continents in the countries of Nigeria, US, and England, linking two lovers through the expanse of time and space, and exploring the evermore relevant issues of race, identity, drifting and belonging. Adichie’s novel is the winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction among other accolades. It is now adapted into film starring Lupita Nyong’o, on the heels of her 2013 Oscar win as Patsey in 12 Years A Slave, and David Oyelowo, 2015 Golden Globe nominee for his role as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma.   Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín Brooklyn_Colm_Toibin Once again the story of migrating and shifting ground, this time from Dublin to Brooklyn. Colm Tóibín’s 2009 Costa Novel Award winner and longlisted novel on the Booker Prize that year tells the story of Ellis Lacey moving to America from Ireland in the 1950’s, as many did, for new life and opportunities. But her story did not end there. The movie adaptation will premiere at Sundance Film Festival January 26, 2015. Saoirse Ronan plays Ellis. She has come a long way in her career with her first breakout role as young Briony in Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Cast includes Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters.   Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy far-from-the-madding-crowd A highly anticipated film adaptation of Hardy’s classic. That Carey Mulligan is playing Bethsheba Everdene increases my curiosity even more, especially as I hear her sing the folksy tune in the movie trailer. Those who hold onto the Julie Christie’s 1967 portrayal as the definitive version should see this for comparison. Screenplay by David Nicholls, who is no stranger to classics on screen, having previously adapted Tess of the D’urbervilles (TV, 2008), and more recently Great Expectations (2012). What makes this newest Hardy adaptation sound promising is its Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, whose film The Hunt was nominated for a 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Matthias Schoenaerts plays Gabriel Oak. Note the name, he will appear in another book to film production.   In The Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick in-the-heart-of-the-sea-book-cover The book records the true story of the tragic loss of the American whaleship The Essex from Nantucket when it was capsized by a sperm whale in the Pacific Ocean in November 1820. A real life Moby Dick, In The Heart of the Sea was the winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The crews were stranded at sea for months. The book chronicles the tragedy and the horrific experience by a few survivors. Oscar winning director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, 2001) cast the star of his acclaimed production Rush (2013), Chris Hemsworth, in this adaptation. Also notable is Ben Whishaw playing Herman Melville. A versatile actor, Whishaw had played the poet John Keats, the new Q in James Bond, and is now the voice of Paddington Bear, replacing Colin Firth.   Kingsman: The Secret Service by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar secret-service-kingsman So what’s Colin Firth been busy doing? One of his new movies coming out in 2015 is the adaptation of a comic book, The Secret Service, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar, definitely not something Firth or his fans could have expected when Mr. Darcy dove into that pond at Pemberley. A comic book? You gasp. That’s right, a totally legit read nowadays, when you have the graphic novel of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time on the same shelf in the library. Firth plays Harry Hart training up a young recruit for the Secret Service, with Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, directed by Matthew Vaughn who had all warmed up with Kick-Ass and X-Men. From the trailer, it sure looks like a visual delight, action-filled, slick and clever. The Secret In Their Eyes by Eduardo Sacheri The Secret in Their Eyes This originally Argentine crime thriller was first adapted into a Spanish movie that won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2010. As soon as I finished watching the film, I downloaded the music soundtrack; it was deeply moving. This is no ordinary crime thriller, but a poignant, psychological exploration of human experience and memories. The new English version of the film has an appealing cast starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (nominated for an Oscar for his role in 12 Years A Slave), Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman, helmed by Hunger Games and Captain Phillips director Billy Ray. Ray also wrote the screenplay. I highly anticipate this English version, albeit I admit the original language version is usually the more affective and authentic rendition. Silence by Shûsaku Endô Silence  Shûsaku Endô’s historical fiction (1966) on the plight of the Catholic Jesuit missionaries to Japan in the 17th Century is a deep and disturbing novel. It touches on multiple levels of the human spirit and psyche, issues that are not easily labelled by the term ‘religion’, dealing with the problem of faith in a God that appears to be silent in the midst of suffering and persecutions of His followers. In a culture that is xenophobic at the time, Endô, a Catholic himself, confronts the issue of doubt and the power of evil head-on. The book reads like a page turner, and I expect the film adaptation to be cinematically gratifying in the hands of an auteur of the Catholic tradition, Martin Scorsese. The new edition of the book includes Scorsese’s preface. The film is shot in Taiwan instead of Japan, with a perfect cast: Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, screenplay by Jay Cock, screenwriter of The Age of Innocence.


More to come… On January 29, go to Shiny New Books the online review magazine for my second list of 2015 Books into Films.

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

23 thoughts on “2015 Books to Movies”

  1. Oh, boy — do I feel ignorant, having read only “Far From the Madding Crowd”! But you know I am eagerly awaiting “Kingsman” Some of these others look like exceptionally intriguing reads and well-cast films. Thanks!

    Thought of you with the Globes and your favorite picks! It’ll be fun to see the Oscar noms this week!


    1. Jeanie,

      These are good reads on their own. I’ve read some but not all; they are on my TBR list. As I always say, the movie is a totally different art form. So it will be interesting to see how they turn out. As for FFTMC, you must see the trailer. Here’s the link. That’s Carey Mulligan singing. I highly anticipate this one.


  2. I just saw “Wild” yesterday — the best seller by Cheryl Strayed brought to life by Reese Witherspoon. Difficult to bring to the screen i feel, and i thoroughly liked the journey and grew from it. Another one for your list.


    1. Thanks Heather, yes Wild is an interesting film. I had it on my 2014 list, together with other titles like Gone Girl, Unbroken, Still Alice…etc. You may like to take a look at that list here. Trying to be as updated as possible, I’m posting the upcoming movie adaptations in this coming year.


  3. I can’t say I am surprised by the list. I thought The Birdman would be nominated in a lot of categories and I agree with Michael Keaton getting the nod. I haven’t seen Boyhood yet, but I will. It looks amazing…. But I have to say I so do not agree about the The Grand Budapest Hotel. I hated that movie… I thought it was awful! It was vulgar (which is a word I rarely use) I can’t think of anything else that describes it. If I had not been at the theater with other people, I would have gotten up and left about half way through. I have a pretty open mind about movies, TV shows and books. Even though it may not be my particular taste in genre, I can appreciate it’s merits. It’s like tasting a wine you wouldn’t order in a restaurant because you don’t drink Merlot, but you know what a good one tastes like when you drink it because of it’s flavor, color and finish. That one, however, completely escapes me……. 😦
    I think there were movies that were overlooked and certainly were better than some of the ones nominated. I can’t call myself a professional critic but I usually get it right more times than not…..
    I can’t comment much on the TV series because I have not seen most of the ones on the lists, but the ones I have seen I agree with. I love Kevin Spacey! Even when he has been in bad movies, he gives a stellar performance. Downton Abbey is some great TV also! And, as always, I will want to check out ones I am not familiar with like Transparent.
    I appreciate the time you take to read, and watch movies to do the reviews. Thank you for that! It is very interesting and inspiring! 🙂


    1. Courtney,

      Just wonder if you’ve read my review of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Here’s the link to that post. Hope I was able to clarify why I thought it was an exceptional film. And yes, I’m a Downton fan and glad that Joanne Froggatt won. That controversial episode that raised so many debates did pay off. And Sunday night’s S5E2 has done a great job in throwing leads and storylines of the coming Season, ending ingeniously on the policeman saying to Mr. Carson there’s a witness to Green’s death. Now that’s the best kind of episode ending.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your view, as I always say, throwing in your 2 pebbles to stir up some ripples. You’re most welcome to click on the ‘Movies Reviewed’ button on the menu bar and throw your two pebbles (instead of 2 cents) into the pond ;).


  4. Hi there thanks for all the reading ideas. I have not read (neither have I heard of) any of those books. To my defence though: I am from Germany and many of the English classics are not read there in school. But looks like all of them are now on my reading list :-). Not all the classics but the books of your list 😉


    1. morgaine620,

      Welcome to the pond! As I always say, here’s where you can throw in your two pebbles to stir up some ripples. Glad to have a reader from Germany. I’m always interested in how books and literary sources are transposed into the cinematic medium. So, that’s why I’d like to read the book first before seeing the film. Last night was the Golden Globe. The Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) went to Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Have you seen it? Anderson wrote the script himself and he credited Stefan Zweig as his influence, inspiration for this film. I know Zweig’s writing is quite popular in Germany.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi there, I haven’t been to the cinema since….??? But I used to work in a DVD shop and needed to know all the newest DVD’s. That was a great time because I had access to lots of great films for free. I am from Germany but now live in Great Britain so have no idea what is going on Germany to be honest. Yes, Stefan Zweig is very popular in Germany but I haven’t read anything of him either. Good grief and I thought I have read a lot…. 🙂 I think though I might invest in some cinema tickets this year 🙂 Thanks for the lovely welcome!


    1. Yes, I remember your review of Hardy’s FFTMC. I’m still reading it, can you believe it, after all these months. And I’m afraid the Proust will have to be further delayed. But I read Silence in a couple of sittings. It was that compelling. Have also read Brooklyn. You’d be interested to read my second list on SNB, I’m sure. 😉


      1. I can believe you are still reading Hardy! It took me four months to get through. As for Proust, he’s going super slow for me too. I can only take so much of his social climbing whining and scheming! I generally make it 10 pages before I have to put the book down.


  5. I thought of you when I heard of the Golden Globe winners, too. And I was both completely surprised and delighted to see the Philbrick here on your list. A cousin of his, also a writer, is a follower of my blog. Richard is retired now, in Panama, but a good writer on his own. He’s also done some work with translating American classics for Panamanian school kids.

    In any event, that personal link guarantees I’ll both read and see that one. “Secret Service” looks good, too. I’ve never read a comic or graphic novel, so maybe it’s time for taht experience, too.


    1. How cool is that! Your link to Philbrick is simply amazing! Yes, England is the land of James Bond, Secret Service, espionage and intrigue. I look forward to the Kingsman: Secret Service, both comic book and film. Can’t believe I’m typing this… looking forward to a comic book?!


  6. I’ve read the Hardy, and have Americanah and Brooklyn on my TBR, both being books I really want to read but dearie me, I’m reading slowly.

    I can’t recollect all the books to films I saw last year, and most of them were for books I didn’t read anyhow, like The Imitation Game and Gone Girl. I’m not one who feels I must read the book first – though if it’s a book I really want to read, then I’d like to read it first if I can.


  7. Oh, this is such a wonderful list. I don’t follow movies as well as I’d like to, but these adaptations sound worth watching. I’ve wanted to read Americanah ever since I watched Adichie’s TED talk on the ‘single story.’ I will make it a point to read the book this year, so that I can even watch its film. I’ll also read In the Heart of the Sea, I like books on ships and voyages, especially historical fiction or true mysteries, and a Ron Howard adaptation should be interesting. I’m so glad to have found your blog!


    1. Welcome! If you’re into books and films, then here at the pond is just right for you to throw in your two pebbles and stir some ripples. I’m excited about films coming out this year, esp. those based on a literary source. Yes, I’ve confidence in Ron Howard’s directing In The Heart of the Sea. Looking forward to it. You may like to take a look at my other reviews (click any image on the side bar) or go to the “Movies Reviewed” on the Menu Bar. Hope to hear from you again.


  8. Oh, Arti, I had to stop reading right at the beginning and comment with the fact that I couldn’t even finish watching The Grand Budapest Hotel! I thought it was just awful!! I liked the scenery, but the rest was so ludicrous, so stupid, so unimportant I couldn’t bear another minute. See? I’m not so good with film…

    I don’t think I could bear Silence as a film, either. So much important stuff there, that I wonder how it could translate to movie rather than book. Of course, that’s my personal bias, from a person who will choose the novel any day before the film.


    1. Bellezza,

      I’m quite surprised after reading Courtney’s comment above that a viewer can find The Budapest Hotel ‘awful’ and ‘vulgar’. I supposed your reaction falls in that same camp. That’s really mind-boggling. Anyway, a movie production can elicit very different emotions and this is case in point. As for Silence, you’re right, it can be a very disturbing film to watch. Do go to Shiny New Books for my other list. In there you might find some more enjoyable titles.


  9. I have not read these books – some sound very interesting. These looks more like English or British books? What about Le Petit Prince of St-Exupery that is supposed to come out this year with the voices of Marion Cotillard, but I think also Jeff Bridges, so I guess it will be done in English first, then re-translated in French. Have you heard about that? It will be an animated film. I have not been to an animated film in ages, have you?


    1. VB,

      Yes, do go to Shiny New Books for my other list of Books Into Films coming out 2015. The Little Prince is in there, yes, in English. I saw the trailer just yesterday at a theatre, and it looks very appealing. You’re right, Marion Cotillard is in there, the voice for the Rose. Other talents abound in that production. I look forward to it. Click here to my other list on Shiny New Books, the online book review mag.


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