Books are dependable motifs. Often characters in movies seem to prefer the antiquated way of getting information by getting stacks of books from a library instead of googling. Some characters that pose as writers still use typewriters. There is something about the beauty of a book that movies understand is the most preferred aesthetic.
Frequently, movies give us unrealistic ideas on love, but books already do that. Many movies use bookstores and libraries as a meeting place for potential lovebirds. This has given many book lovers the expectation of being sent a book from across the room, the favored alternative to getting a drink from across the bar.
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Frequently, bookish people related to “Matilda” as children, having their heads constantly in books, finding fantasy better than their own reality. This film was not only a movie adapted from a book, but a story about escapism. Matilda begins with stacks of books from the library she tows in a cart.
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One of the best children’s movies that use books as both trouble makers and problem solvers is “The Pagemaster.” When he takes shelter in the library everyone is envious. An entire night in a library? Sounds like heaven…that is until the adventure goes awry. Luckily, when exploring novels pages act as the cage to keep characters and situations from escaping into readers’ lives.
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While working in a bookstore would be a dream (and money-saver) for most of us, in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” it serves as a job more than a career. Dejected Clementine frequently swears when fumbling with small tasks as a bookseller. She shrugs the dependence on others off, saying “Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours.”
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And if working in a bookstore is your dream job, you probably watched “You Got Mail,” wishing you were either Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan in their heydays, acting out owners of successful bookstores (or if not successful, at least whimsical and well-loved). Though Kathleen, who Ryan plays, ends up not being able to save the store, she still continues life surrounded by books, becoming a children’s author. She will probably get a discount at Fox Books, anyway.
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In “Dan in Real Life” we get to see Steve Carell play a man, Dan, that gets an opportunity handed to him by Maria, played by Juliette Binoche, when she mistakes Dan as a worker at the bookstore. He handles it with grace until he is outed. They end up getting to know each other better.
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Other times, it is vastly different. Being bothered in the middle of reading can be a nightmare. Getting into the groove of a book can be interrupted, throwing the entire experience off. It’s times like that where the famous “I love you,” scene from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is incredibly relatable. She wants to be far from the trouble of the world, and instead just enjoy reading.
It’s clear that even movies prefer books. Several adaptations of books rake in the dough for already successful directors, like the Hunger Games series or the Harry Potter series. Whether it’s done to satisfy or solicit the fandoms, seeing favorite novels get made into movies is almost always great news.
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There are times, though, where we are sure book-to-movie adaptations go much more like the movie “Adaptation.” It can be grueling, full of writer’s block, and end results have several times been less successful. In the film, Nic Cage’s character experiences tumultuous times, feeling despondent when trying to write the screen adaptation of a book.
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Books have bound characters in movies that would otherwise have a hard time coming up with conversation. In the “Princess Bride,” Fred Savage begrudgingly lets his grandfather read a book to him while he’s sick in bed. At first doing this out of the charity of spending time with his grandfather, he then starts to feel how many readers do: in love with the story, emotionally engaged, and, if the reading is interrupted, impatient to hear the fairy tale ending.
Movies understand that a world without books would be incredibly dull. They have decorated sets and used books as ploys to drive stories, and it works beautifully. In the end, books are basically already movies. You, the reader, are the director.
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