I know it comes as no surprise that when we’re not reading an actual book, you can find us indulging in films that feature our favourite thing to talk about: more books.
Yes, there’s a certain excitement in seeing your favourite story come to life on screen, but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes we just want to watch a tale about people who obsess over literature as much as we do. Enter these five films. From rom-coms to thrillers, we’ve got you covered on what to watch when you want to swap the page for a screen without compromising your bookish tendencies.
1. You’ve Got Mail
A bookstore rivalry intertwined with romance and delightful, early internet confusion? Sign us up! Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are absolutely endearing is this late-90s rom-com where two book-selling competitors accidentally fall in love online before falling in love online was boiled down to a simple right swipe. The most difficult part of watching this film is deciding which is more heart breaking: seeing an independent bookstore’s future become shaky or watching two people who are so obviously meant to be together wasting so much time apart.
You’ve Got Mail teaches us that there’s nothing to fret about if you’re still single. Finding your soulmate is as easy as opening a quaint little bookshop, starting to email internet strangers, and falling madly in love through an AOL portal.
2. Fahrenheit 451
A film that’s based on a book about a dystopian government that’s outlawed books — are you still with me? Fahrenheit 451 is a classic Ray Bradbury dystopian novel, but it also translates well into a stunningly scary film.
Most recently, HBO tackled the tale with some incredible artistic decisions, the most important being the casting of Michael B. Jordan as protagonist Guy Montag. But, lusting aside, this film is great because there’s nothing scarier to a book lover than the thought of our source of pure happiness, our cure for boredom, and our ticket to brand new worlds becoming criminal. The scenes of dreamy libraries being engulfed in flames are heart breaking yet hypnotizing, and they’ll make you walk away with a new adoration for the books in your life.
Matilda was my Disney princess growing up, despite being neither Disney nor a princess. She inspired fierce independence and the propensity to have your nose shoved in a book at all times for many a young girl — and I wanted to be just like her.
If we can all move past the horrible cake-eating scene for a moment, there’s much to reminisce on with this literary-loving little girl who stole our hearts. Cast aside by her horrible family, Matilda takes to wandering alone to the local library to escape into a new book — something most book lovers can relate to. In the end, I like to think that books literally saved her life, as they allowed her to keep cool in a chaotic upbringing and brought her to the lovely Miss Honey, who we all secretly wanted to be adopted by, too.
Also, Matilda is originally a Roald Dahl title, which of course only propels our love for it!
4. The Ghost Writer
Let’s be honest with ourselves; while we love them, films about books aren’t usually the ones to keep us on the edge of our seats with racing hearts and clenched fists — but The Ghost Writer helps to add a little bit of thrill and action to the genre.
It’s safe to say that most ghost writers — or writers in general — don’t get into the business for the high-speed chases and impending danger around every corner, but that’s exactly what Ewan McGregor, as The Ghost, jumps straight into. Come for the promise of insight into the ghost-writing process, stay for the drama and absolutely unrealistic depictions of ghost writing.
5. The Words
The Words is kind of like the Inception of films about books in the sense that there are so many layers of storytelling that sometimes you forget which layer you’re in. The film starts with author Clayton Hammond reading from his new book… which is about writer Rory Jansen… who essentially ends up stealing a manuscript from another writer… and publishing it as his own. It sounds confusing in writing, but I promise that feeling of being lost is part of the magic when it’s playing out in front of you.
While the idea of stealing an author’s work is enraging for anyone who loves books and values the sanctity of the writing process, there’s still romance in the story behind how this lost manuscript comes to be found and published. It also doesn’t hurt to have to watch Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Ben Barnes, and Olivia Wilde for 90 minutes.
As always, thank you for reading, and be sure to tweet us @AgoraBooksLDN with some of your favourite films that feature books!