Books to Movies Adaptation: Discussion ft. The Eternal Question… Plus Some Examples

Movie adaptations on books… the best or most cursed words?

It’s a tightrope – and one that so many books fall off. There’s so much hype whenever a movie of a book is announced, and today I’m going to be discussing some of my thoughts on book to movie adaptations! I will also be talking about a couple of the ones I’ve seen/read and what I thought about them.

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This is my first discussion post – forgive me if something goes wrong – and I’d be interested to hear what y’all think about book to movie adaptations!! (Let’s count how many times I use this phrase in this post!!)

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First things first… there’s always a lot of pressure associated with the movies, I feel. If tiny details (that, let’s be real, we only noticed on our five hundredth reread) are missing, the fandom/viewers tends to blow the mistake up and make it a big deal. It also doesn’t help that most people who watch the movie in the first week of opening are likely to be the ones who are VERY picky about how it’s been done, and are more likely to give it a bad review.

Some movies will also have a fan base from the director or main cast of the movie – and will want to see them doing a particular niche or role in the film. This is where it gets tricky to please everyone – staying true to the characters and plot of the film or sticking to similar roles of cast members.

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For me these mean two different things – while other people use them interchangeably. If it’s been ‘adapted’, that to me means things should be the same – no major changes to plot lines or character arcs. ‘Based on’ can mean aspects may have significantly changed – like they did from the book to movie in The Miseducation Of Cameron Post (which I talk about later.)

This helps me to know what to expect – if I’m going in thinking it’s similar to the book that I adored I’ll be less critical than if I think I’m getting a play by play of the novel I loved so dearly. Maybe this is just a me thing though??

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I’m sure we’ve all seen fan casts for popular books around – and lots of fan art. This can heighten expectations for the cast of the book – especially concerning race. I know there was a Thing last year with commissioned fan art of a character depicted as a different race than the author had written them – and a similar thing can happen with movies. Of course we all hope that it’s a) clear in the book, but also, b) taken into respect when casting.

Casts can also influence ticket sales – if well known actors are cast, the movie is more likely to sell well, since the people coming will broaden to those actors. On the other hand, casting the right person for the role can make a huge difference – popular or not. Casting someone because they’re famous versus casting the right person can be a tricky debate.

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The script!! This is a major thing in my opinion, and one a lot of people can get stuck over. Some quotes people obviously want to hear – eg. in the Grishaverse show that is coming (!!!) we know ‘No mourners, no funerals’ is in there – and I’m sure MANY people (myself included) would love to hear quotes such as these. However, there are iconic parts in every book, but sometimes lesser known parts are well loved by specific (groups of) people and if that isn’t included, they may feel ripped off.

To be honest, I think that as long as important quotes aren’t skipped over/forgotten about everything is okay??

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Some movies will change major plot lines – keeping the basic premise of the book, but nothing else. This really annoys me since most of the time the whole reason you came to watch is because you wanted to see the book you liked so much as a movie??

As long as the main plot line is there however, I think it’s okay to change minor details – especially for things that may be hard to orchestrate and film. Obviously I wouldn’t like it as much but it would still have the original feel.

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This is the fun part!! I have some adaptations I’ve seen, and what I thought of them 🙂 I have also seen other movies based on books (but haven’t read the books so can’t comment) and books that have movies (but haven’t seen movies) but these were the standout memorable ones!! For good or bad reasons!!

to all the boys i’ve loved before

I feel like this is an iconic one?? I loved the movie SO MUCH more than the book though tbh… I had so many issues with the book (it was DNFed for childish writing, inherently sexist themes, annoying main character – kitty was the only decent one) but the movie was a really sweet romcom!! I recently saw the second one too and would recommend.. I feel like a bad reader saying this but don’t read the books, watch the movies.

the miseducation of cameron post

This was definitely different to the book – the first 50% of the book looked at the backstory behind Cameron and the second half was her at God’s Promise (a conversion therapy boarding school where the MC is sent), but pretty much the whole movie was her experience at the “camp”?? (I can’t bring myself to call it a camp because.. I can’t I’m sorry) I still loved both though, and would recommend a watch – especially with friends!! It’s a great movie to watch with friends!! To buddy read with friends!! (Get through the pain together, is my logic)

love, simon

Confession time… I watched the movie of this BEFORE I read the book? (And then I watched the movie another two times before finally reading Simon VS) However, I adored both the movie and the book – I think it stayed true to everything the book stood for and I loved the ferris wheel scene!! The fifth and most recent time I saw this my friends and I started cheering and crying halfway through and I love both the movie and book so much!! I also know it means so much to a lot of people – what did you think of the movie?

percy jackson

I threw this one in there for fun!! I’ve never seen them but my friends don’t even call them the Percy Jackson movies… apparently that’s how bad they are. I know it’s getting a TV show though so I think people are excited for that?!

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what did you think of my first discussion? should i do more? (too late there’s another 2 in my drafts your answer better be yes) what are your thoughts on book to movie adaptations? love them? hate them? it depends? let me know!!

also i’m a little wary of posting this because it’s not that chatty and fun like most of my posts are but i’m hoping to get some discussion going in the comments and i’d be interested to see what y’all think!!! i actually had a lot of fun writing this :)) it’s one of my ‘more professional’ posts i think but… while it was fun i think the others are more enjoyable to read. (anyway ignore me down the bottom here)


54 thoughts on “Books to Movies Adaptation: Discussion ft. The Eternal Question… Plus Some Examples

  1. Ah yessss I love discussion posts so much, can’t wait to the next two you have drafted Rhi! I totally agree with your point about ‘adaptation’ and ‘based off’ meaning different things. They also mean different things to me, if its based off then I expect some changes maybe to the plot or something but an adaptation in my mind should be as true to the books original plot line as possible. I do enjoy adaptions, whether its movies or series based off of the books, I just have to constantly remind myself to watch it and separate it from the book where possible. I tend to go in with the “based off” expectations nowadays just so I don’t feel like I wasted 1-2hrs of my time watching a movie which flops.

    Ahem I am still very salty about the adaptations of the Divergent series because it said ‘adaptations’ and I could literally rant about the way they did the last movie >.> Anyhoo I loved this post so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much clo!! separating from the book is probably the most important part i think, and it’s definitely important to go in with the right idea!!!

      ahaha i have never read or seen divergent… and i’ll definitely be staying away from the movies now!! thank you so much clo again ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a fantastic post!!💜 You made so many great points. I definitely agree that a distinction should be made between “adaptation” and “based on” because sometimes there’s unrealistic expectations. The Not-Percy-Jackson movies don’t fall into either category they’re so bad😂 Little Women is one of the movies I think adapted the book perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your first discussion is so good! I loved all the topics you brought up, they are so tricky.

    For me the most important part about adaptations is capturing the heart of the book and why most movies fall flat. But I’m also not too bothered because I’m not that much of a fuss about watching movies before reading the book and sometimes that film may not capture the heart of the book but I could still enjoy it. I know, blasphemy lmao.

    But then I also LOVE when an adaptation gets it right. The only ones I’ve found are To All The Boys and The Hunger Games franchise, specifically Catching Fire. They’re literally PERFECTION, in my humble opinion hehe. Love Simon is also high up there but I hated what they did to Simon’s friends to add drama. I’m literally busy with Love Victor rn and my fave part has been Simon & Bram, I’m so terrible.

    The cast is SO IMPORTANT! Like, the reason I’m so excited about The Grishaverse show is because the cast is PHENOMENAL. And sometimes they just don’t get the casting right and it can ruin the character and thereby make the film less enjoyable, whether you know the character from the book or not.

    Lets not even start on POORLY WRITTEN SCRIPTS! Unfortunately, I think that’s the biggest downfall of not only adaptations but so many films is a cringey script and cringey dialogue. And it ruins the ENTIRE thing because it makes the movie unrealistic with stupid “witty” jokes and whatever tf aghhhh.

    Such a great post and I have lots of ~ opinions ~ as you can tell by my essay comment whoops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so so much ruby!!!

      the heart of the book, as you so briliantly put it, is definitely the most important part. and yeah, it DEFINITELY depends on what book it is as to what i’ll think – and it varies!

      i’ve never read or seen hunger games, but i’ve been meaning to and the fact that they got it right makes me happy to hear!! and i actually watched love simon before reading it (i know, i’m a shocker!) but while the drama was awful, i’ve now seen that movie five times. aaahh i’ve already seen love victor twice and i LOVE it, how are you finding it? (and i agree, simon and bram coming were excellent)

      the grishaversa cast does look amazing – personality and look. casting is probably my biggest pet peeve??

      cringey scripts will ACTUALLY make me hate it, as well as comic relief where it isn’t needed.

      thank you so much for this lovely comment – and don’t worry!! i wanted to start discussion ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. omg yes please definitely i would love to see more of your thoughts and discussion posts!!!
    personally, i’m not too picky about book-to-movie adaptations. of course, they are always some scenes that i look forward to seeing on screen. but i like to see another alternative to the story.
    i also totally agree on the adapted vs. based on discourse. if it’s loosely adapted from a book, that means they took the main concept of the story and made it into something new. if it’s an adaptation, then it stays true to the book.
    anyway, i absolutely loved reading this post! hope you are doing well ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much maha!!
      alternatives are also great!! i tend not to be too picky either – as long as i’m invested in the story the same way i get invested in a book, i’m good to go. loosely adapted is a great way of putting it, thank you!!
      thank you again ❤ i'm doing okay, wishing you a wonderful day x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a really wonderful discussion, Rhi!💗You brought up a lot of really great points. I mostly agree with you on TATBILB?? Like, I want to like the books better and I thought I did at least, but upon rereading the books after watching the movie, I thought the movie was cuter…I don’t know, Peter was just so cold in the books and after watching the movie where he was so sweet and obviously infatuated with Lara Jean, it was hard to like it better the book way.

    I think the most important things I judge the most on in book to movie adaptations are probably the plot and script! I get sad when major things are changed…or if minor details that I really liked in the books are left out, as much as I know it’s unreasonable to expect every little bit to get put into the movies. I’m the same as you on the script- I don’t necessarily need exact lines but important quotes are really nice to include. I do remember though when I watched Little Women (2019) for the first time being so happy and smiling in the movie theater because I would recognize a lot of word-for-word dialogue and get so excited about it, so it definitely can be really exciting as a reader to recognize parts directly from the book.🥺

    Amazing post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you olivia!! i never managed to finish the book of tatbilb but the movie was good!! peter was super sweet ❤

      scripts can definitely be a dealbreaker for me too!! and aah little women was so good!! i've never read the books but so many people have said it stayed true to them, and i loved the movie.

      thank you so much ❤ hope you're doing well x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yeah, I was going to mention To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before! The book was, as you said, low-key kinda sexist, but the movie was GREAT. The Percy Jackson movie was something lmao. I don’t tend to watch a whole lot of book-to-movie adaptations, except for movies of classics. They can definitely be fun though!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post, Rhi! You know, I’ve never really understood the amount of hate and backlash that book-to-move adaptions cop. I LOVE seeing my favorite literary worlds come to life on the big screen – even if it’s not perfect! Maybe it’s because I’m a film student but subtle plot changes and new ideas don’t urk me? I mean, unpopular opinion alert: I actually preferred Vampire Academy to the book. I liked that the director integrated Ms Carp deeper into the plot which made, to me, a lot more sense. Especially because it foreshadowed the later books. I actually think that sometimes, movie adaptions can smooth out any plot holes. 💙

    Liked by 1 person

  8. great first discussion post, rhi! you’re too hard on yourself. this was very chatty and fun to read.

    i never even check to see if a book-to-movie is an adaption or “based on”, i usually assume it’s an adaptation. i think in general they are? i don’t know. i can say that film-makers aren’t very clear about the differentiation when putting out the movie. maybe this could save them some heart-ache later.

    i never check for popular lines in movies, but when they pop up i will certainly judge if they are done well or not. for example, if all of a sudden a line that’s used for a tragic scene is used for comedy. i’m like, nope!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kjnkdjnckjns thank youuuuuu sha!

      yeah same… i kinda just thought of that thing at like 1am and decided ‘why not let’s shove it in here this post is weird enough’ – but honestly? if they were clear about if it was or not there would be MANY less angry fans.

      omg comedic relief is always heightened in movies! like, sorry but we really don’t need humour at a funeral!! thank you sha x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. you’re welcome, you’re welcome!!!!

        the best thoughts really do come at 1am, don’t they? or in the shower. they just don’t like convenient times, too basic i guess? –so true though, it seems thinking about the fans is the absolute last thing to do when it comes to movie making.

        only mourners!! for real, it’s okay to be sad at the movies sometimes. i sobbed at the end of wonder woman and it was still a good movie to me? there can be more than comedy. sad that a movie producer doesn’t realize but everyday citizens are like, “um, it’s obvious”

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  9. I certainly do not envy the people who make book to movie adaptations, since book lovers are so critical of them. Especially when it’s an adaptation of a book with a large fandom with lots of opinions…which is why I’m excited but also nervous about the upcoming Percy Jackson adaptation 😅 I haven’t seen the Cameron Post movie yet, though I loved the book! And I’m with you that I liked the TATBILB movie better than the book. Love Simon is one of my favorite adaptations – I love both the book and the movie so much!!

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  10. Great discussion post! I think you should definitely do more of them😊

    I think I may be alone in this, but it’s very rare that I read a book and watch the movie. I think it’s because I’m scared of being disappointed by one or the other, so I only choose one medium. And it kind of works for me because the genres I like to read and watch are different. For instance, I love dystopian films but I really dislike reading the genre.

    Also I never thought about the difference between the term “adaptation” and “based on” before, so thank you for bringing that to my attention!😊

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  11. This was such a great post! I understand that books to movies can’t stick the book exactly for many reasons and so I don’t mind if there are changes. I thought the Love, Simon adaptation was done well – I liked it better than the book to be honest. I also liked To All The Boys #1 better than the book! I think I like contemporary romance movies better than book because I’m less critical. I thought this was a well-written discussion post and I’d love to see more ❤

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  12. Ha. Ha. Ha. Peter Johnson movies can go die (they literally do terribly in all your categories) They are so bad, some of the actors have apologised for the horror show.

    Aside from that, this was a great post! I have some great movies/books to add to my TBR (I swear this list is over 200 books by now) (mostly thanks to you 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  13. i agree that there’s a lot of pressure that goes with creating a book-to-film adaptation, especially because The Fandom can get very angry lmao. (same about never having seen the pjo movies, i’ve heard only bad things and don’t plan on watching them anytime soon 😭) your point about the script was also so valid, there are some really iconic moments in books sometimes and it would break my heart if they didn’t make it into the script!!

    also, i completely agree with you on tatbilb – i didn’t enjoy the book but i really hope to see the movie soon, it looks better in a way?? the only thing i liked about the book was kitty, honestly, and i agree that lara jean was SO annoying :((

    this was such a great discussion post, rhi, i really enjoyed reading it! 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

  14. it is ILLEGAL for your first discussion to post to be this good but we’re all criminals anyway it’s all good

    ma’am i never thought about the difference between “adapted” and “based on” but what you said makes so much sense,,, i have to stan

    RHI. I KNEW THERE’S A REASON I ADORED YOU and as of rIGHT NOW, it’s b/c our THOUGHTS on ‘to all the boys i’ve loved before’ are identical. i’ve always ranted about how straight up disappointing the book is? i could barely finish it. the writing is mediocre, the main character is childish beyond reason and extremely annoying. peter is really not that charming i do not see the appeal AT ALL. i hated everything about it but i ~loved~ the movie. it did everything the book THOUGHT it was doing. it was lowkey really weird b/c (as far as i remember) the movie stayed pretty true to the book in terms of dialogue and plot (except the ending ofc) lol.

    i loved this post sm, can’t wait for more of your discussions ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i am glad to hear it’s all good otherwise i might have to, uh, do some even MORE illegal things…

      it was one of those 1am thoughts, you know? like a ‘huh maybe i’m on to something here’ and what do you know, literally everyone commented about it

      kjshdfjk I HAD TO DNF THE BOOK AT LIKE 30% THATS HOW BAD IT WAS. but the movie….. that’s some top quality het romance fluff.

      thank youuuuu ur too kind to me i hate it here

      Liked by 1 person

  15. What a subject to discuss! Most people think that ‘adaption’ and ‘based off’ is the same thing but if it’s an adaptation everything needs to be the same!! 😂 The worst is when you have this perfect picture of all the characters but they just look so different in the movie or when the movie majorly brushes over the main scene in the book like AHHH! Thanks so much for this lovely post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I think this is a really late comment but I have been so behind on bloghopping ….And wow this is your first discussion !!! I loved the topic and your thoughts were really well articulated…I loved all the points you brought up…and the fans are always so picky when it comes to this …..i AGREE there is soo much pressure on filming industry but I just hate it when they remove the main and fun parts ….also I don’t need to be the exact lines from the book but the quotes and the punchlines should be there ….. but PJO movie was really really bad ….I have not read or watched to all the boys i have loved before ….and i never knew the difference between adapt and based on ….And you should definitely write a second discussion can’t wait to see what topic you will pick 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. (aahhh idk how i accidentally clicked unfollow so if you see a notification saying i’ve just followed you, that is why!)
    have you watched the miss peregrine’s film? it’s so different from the original novel – some characters had switched powers, and the whole ending was different. it surprised me a lot because i actually liked the movie, but i usually hate it when films change the whole plot of the original story. 😂
    and i agree that the tatbilb film was a lot better than the books! i liked kitty and peter a lot more when watching the film, and i especially liked that they changed the reasons for why kitty mailed out lara jean’s letters.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. this is a really good discussion post and i loved reading it, don’t worry! i’d love to see more from you 🥺 i actually never realized that adapted and based off are two different things? :”) But now that i think about it, that makes sense. there are some movies that are very loosely based off a book lmao.

    to be honest, i don’t really care for book to movie adaptations? if an adaptation is great, then fine, but i also don’t really mind if it’s bad because i know that the book and movie are two different things. my love for the book won’t be diminished if the movie adaptation isn’t as good, if that makes sense (probably not). but i am excited for shadow and bone, and i’m considering reading the grisha trilogy (i know i won’t like the books) because of it. i’m mainly excited to see my favorite scenes and characters in tv form, and if they include the “my ghost won’t associate with your ghost line” i will love it LMAO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much!!! i feel like things like love victor and cameron post are based off rather than adapted ❤

      i think i'd check it out because i liked the book and so i'm looking for something similar?? but yeah, shadow and bone looks amazing :))) omg that line is ICONIC <33333

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Aaah, this is such a good discussion, I loved it!! You made so many good points! I definitely agree that there’s a difference between an adaptation and based on, and it’s definitely a slippery slope with the quoting the right lines. Like I get that some fans might want to see the *exact same thing* as the book portrayed on the screen, but I feel that whether it’s an adaptation or based on, it should add something to the book rather than be a shot by shot recreation.

    I never read TALBILB, but I thought the movie was really cute! I also loved the way it was shot, and all the colors and style of the film. For Love, Simon, I also thought the movie was great, but personally, the book wasn’t a favorite of mine, so I was glad for the adaptation! I think that for me if I’m verrrrry invested in a book/universe I’d rather there not be an adaptation for fear of them messing it up, but I do enjoy when adaptations introduce me to books! But there are also some adaptations that I loved like Good Omens 😄

    Anyways, I loved this discussion and I’d love to see more from you 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much chana!! i agree – if it’s not adding anything, it’s just a play by play… and we could do that in our heads.

      omg both those movies are so good!!! the books of them also fell a bit flat but the movies were amazing. thank you so much again chana ❤


  20. Oh yeah there’s a lot of pressure for movie adaptations! But I do get what you mean about there being a difference between adapted and based on. And I agree- as long as the main quotes aren’t skipped over, it’s all okay. And I really don’t like when major plot points are changed either. I also loved to all the boys and love simon as adaptations as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wait this was your first discussion? How?! It’s so good!!!!!!

    I think you essentially tackled all of the right things here. There’s definitely a lot of pressure on movie / TV adaptations, especially if the book is so well loved. Okay, if the Grishaverse portrayal in Netflix skips out on any of the Kanej moments / scenes, I will not be okay. Also…is Wylan in there? I saw the cast video and didn’t see him…oh no!

    Ooh I hadn’t really thought of adapted vs based on. Adapted definitely makes audiences think that it should be similar to the book. Based on makes me think of, for example, a modern twist on a well known classic.

    I don’t love or hate book to movie adaptations…I’m mainly kind of meh. Though 9 out of 10 times I’ll prefer the book over the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

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