Three of my favourite things in life are books, films and love, and Valentine’s Day is a perfect excuse to curl up with a romantic book, or persuade/force/cajole my husband into watching one of my favourite soppy movies. Better still, both – with books about love that have also been turned into films just perfect for that Valentine’s evening cosy time with your other half/dog/cat/poster of Ryan Gosling. So in the spirit of all things romance, today I’m rounding up 5 of my favourite books about love which have also been turned into movies. I wonder how many of these would make your Valentine’s Day list?
1. The Twilight Saga
Unless you were holed up in some sort of alternate universe in the years from approximately 2008-2012, it’s unlikely you won’t have heard of the ‘Twilight’ Saga, a 5-part romantic extravaganza based on the series of books by Stephenie Meyer. Following a sort of triangular love story between a human girl (Bella), a vampire (Edward), and a werewolf (Jacob), the Twilight series is a love story with a difference which had many of us mere mortals hooked for the best part of five years. And not without good reason. Whether you’re Team Edward or Team Jacob, a dip into the Twilight series on Valentine’s Day equals a healthy dose of action packed romantic escapism. And with four books and five films to choose from you’re spoilt for choice – although personally I’d have to pin it down to the original Twilight Movie for its edgy, indie feel, and the last Twilight book, Breaking Dawn, for its gripping, page turning style and heart-stopping climax.
2. One Day
Next on my list is ‘One Day’, David Nicholl’s drama charting the relationship between a couple, Dexter and Emma, following a night spent together on St Swithin’s Day in 1988 and on the same day every year over the course of the next two decades. One Day has been for some time now my favourite book, (I’ve quite simply never found anything that’s bettered it), and when I finished reading it I recall feeling like I’d lost two friends while I wandered around in a sort of haze wondering how my life could possibly move on from this (exactly how a book should make you feel if it’s absolutely brilliant). Inevitably the movie could never withstand this sort of emotional baggage, but Lone Scherfig’s adaption starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess is still a lovely portrayal of the sweet, funny and moving relationship between the leading pair. It’s definitely worth considering for your Valentine’s night entertainment, and if you’ve ever read a romantic novel to match up to One Day, then please do let me know.
War time drama ‘Atonement’, based on Ian McEwan’s 2001 novel of the same name, and starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in the leading roles, tells the thwarted love story of Cecilia and Robbie, and a childish act of cruelty that impacts on both their lives forever. Both the book and the film are beautiful, and whilst devastating in their impact, gently weave themes of love, guilt and circumstance until you are totally absorbed in the story between the three central characters around whom the action unfolds. The performances of Knightley and McAvoy in the film version are amazing, and when Robbie tells Cecilia ‘I will return. Find you, love you, marry you and live without shame’, you’ll find yourself feeling that the lovers deserve nothing less than exactly that.
4. Me Before You
‘Me Before You’ is a bittersweet story about the relationship between happy-go-lucky Louisa Clark and Will Traynor, a young man left paralysed after a road traffic accident. After Lou accepts a job as Will’s caregiver, the two strike up an unlikely bond and Jojo Moyes’ book – and the film that later followed – charts the pair’s relationship as Lou tries to persuade a depressed Will that life is still worth living despite his situation. Along the way it’s not just Will who learns a few lessons about life though, and the story unfolds with all the compassion, warmth and heart I’ve come to expect in every one of Jojo Moyes’ novels. Whether you sit down to the novel or the film you won’t be disappointed, and despite the difficult subject matter, Me Before You remains a charming, life affirming and romantic story about life, loss and the people who change us along the way.
5. The Notebook
Could any self respecting Valentine’s Day ‘best of’ list be complete without mention of ‘The Notebook’? I think not. Nicholas Spark’s romantic drama about the love affair between Allie and Noah (later adapted for the screen in a production directed by Nick Cassavetes), is the ultimate in heady, heart rending, not-a-dry-eye-in-the-house romance. It’s one of only a few examples of a book-to-film adaption where I actually prefer the movie, not least because of the fantastic performances by Ryan Gosling (yes him again), and Rachel McAdams as the leading couple. Only the hardest of hearts could fail to be moved by the film’s ending, or resist imagining life as a seagull when Noah tells Allie ‘if you’re a bird I’m a bird’ (*husband rolls eyes in background*). Call me old fashioned, but in the difficult world we live in, I think The Notebook is a much needed reminder that love really is the GREATEST. It’s the perfect Valentine’s night movie – just don’t forget the tissues.
And that’s it for my round up of my favourite book-to-film adaptations for Valentine’s Day – I do hope it’s given you some ideas for your evening’s entertainment. What do you think, have I chosen wisely? I’d love to hear about your favourite books and films for Valentine’s Day too!