Is the book or the movie better?

Why the novel surpasses the film


Juraj Gabriel, Unsplash

Alongside every popular, best-selling book written, inevitably comes a movie adaptation. According to author Hannah Rothwell, writing for Medium, An incredible 70% of the world’s top 20 grossing films are based on books.” As a book enthusiast, I always read the book before watching the movie and, in my experience, books tend to outshine their film counterparts.

The job of film adaptations is to represent the stories depicted in books accurately and in an entertaining way. To me, movie versions can never quite bring that same feeling that books do, no matter how good they may be. 

I’m not saying that the movies aren’t good — in fact, many of them are great, as well as successful. 

The reason why these movies do so well is that they often follow a great book. When you look at imagination, timing, details and perspective, it’s no wonder that books tend to be superior to their movie adaptations. 

Arguably, interpreting what is said in the books we read, is one of the best parts of reading. Books allow readers to use their imaginations, taking the story where each of us want to. It allows us to believe what we wish and feel how we choose to. Often, I find myself believing that something looks a certain way, but when I watch the movie version, it’s portrayed completely differently. 

In addition, most movies comply with certain time restrictions in order to please their audience, because if it’s too long or too short, the viewers will lose interest. This usually means cutting out details described within the books. Understandably, filmmakers can’t include every little detail from a book they are adapting, often to the dismay of the fans. Every little detail adds up to make the big picture and, without them, the experience doesn’t feel quite the same. 

Naturally, many movies are filmed in the third person point-of-view and many books are in the first-person, but when you take a book’s perspective and try to turn it into a movie, you lose that perspective. 

Overall, these adaptations may be impressive, even excellent, but the books they are based on are what allow the movies the magic that they convey on screen. At the end of the day, while both the resulting films and stories might have their positive characteristics, when we narrow in to focus on the storyline at hand, I stand by the idea that the book portrays these works in a more memorable, enjoyable way.