Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Movies into Books

Reading a really great book can evoke the response of “Wouldn’t this make a great movie?”  Hollywood might be fall down from lack of source material without all those great reads out there.  Then again, I admit there are some really great movies that would make great books.

1. The Visitor: 2007/Richard Jenkins

The Visitor (2007) Poster

Walter, a widowed college professor, travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young illegal immigrant couple, Tarek and Zainab living in his apartment. While an uneasy friendship forms between them, the relationship becomes complicated when Tarek is arrested and Walter tries to help prevent deportation.

The movie sensitively presents the issue of immigration and illegal immigrants without too much political statement. The richness of moments and dialogue between the characters is what takes the movie to a level of deeply appreciating the various paths each human takes while journeying through life.

I would like to see this as a book to better “hear” each character’s thoughts, perhaps presented in the new chapter omniscient format.

Cover of "The Interpreter (Widescreen Edi...

Cover of The Interpreter (Widescreen Edition)

2. The Interpreter: 2005/Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn

Political intrigue and deception at its best. Set  inside the United Nations, Nicole Kidman plays an interpreter who overhears an assassination plot and CIA agent Sean Penn is assigned to investigate whether there is validity to her claim. Both are hurting from personal losses and form a bond from their mutual pain.

I would like to see this as a book because it is an intelligent thriller that explores aspects of an unknown field of work to me: United Nations interpreter. There are twists and turns to the plot that would make it a definite page-turner. And while Penn and Kidman’s characters are attracted to each other there is no distraction of a romantic relationship sideswiping the plot.

3. Flawless: 2007/Michael Caine, Demi Moore

Set in 1960s London, Michael Caine and Demi Moore both work for the London Diamond Corporation. Caine, a custodian about to retire, convinces Moore, the lone female executive who longs to break the glass ceiling, to get back at the company that has wronged them by lifting a few diamonds. A heist film of high caliber, exploring class and gender constraints.

I would definitely like to see this as a book because who can resist an intelligent whodunit heist? No murder, per se, just well-written character portrayals with a death on the side. Oh yeah, all those diamonds disappearing is pretty good intrigue, too.

4. Finding Forrester: 2000/Sean Connery, Rob Brown

Rob Brown, in his first role, plays a high school basketball player who happens to be a writing prodigy. He hides his writing in journals he carries in his backpack. On a dare gone wrong, he inadvertently leaves his backpack in an apartment he and his friends explore.  Sean Connery executes a fine performance as a reclusive author who wrote the Great American Novel and retired from writing and the world.

adaptation by James Ellison

Actually this did come out as a book and  held its own.

One thing noticeable about my choices is they are about issues and relationships. CGI nowhere to be seen.  Hmm, that says something, doesn’t it?

So–what movies to books are you hoping for at the  library near you?

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5 thoughts on “Movies into Books

  1. Just provide me with a well written book, a cup of tea and some chocolate … I really don’t care about its movie at all, just bring along another cup of tea and refill the chocolate bowl! Just thinking, though … a book is usually a solitary adventure whereas a movie is best enjoyed in the company of friends (and popcorn)?

  2. What good choices! I would love to read The Visitors as a novel, precisely for the same reason you point out – to hear the characters’ thought processes. What an interesting idea.

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