As professional bookworms we’re obliged to say that the book is always better than the film. But even we have to admit that there have been some pretty brilliant films based on books in recent times.


Here’s our pick of the movies based on classic novels that are definitely worth taking your nose out of a book for. 


 Emma Donoghue’s Room

Brie Larson's Oscar-winning performance as Ma in this highly faithful film adaptation of Emma Donoghue's bestselling novel is astonishing.  Watching five-year-old Jack and his mother escape from captivity is emotionally taxing, but it’s ultimately an uplifting story that stays with you for a very long time.

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Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho

Christian Bale brilliantly and terrifyingly brings Bret Easton Ellis’ charismatic Wall Street psychopath to life in this black comedy about a wealthy New Yorker leading a double life as a serial killer.

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Craig Davidson’s Rust and Bone

Loosely based on Craig Davidson’s short-story collection, Jacques Audiard’s beautiful but brutal film exists in the same savage world, where it explores violence, masculinity and life on the most extreme of margins. 


Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for her role in David O. Russell's sweet and eccentric film adaptation of Matthew Quick’s story about mental illness and life not going to plan.

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Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

A post-apocalyptic tale of a man and his son trying to survive by any means possible. One of the most terrifyingly believable visions of the world’'s end ever put on screen.

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Jon Ronson’s The Men Who Stare At Goats

The true story of a secret unit established in 1979 by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known military practice – and indeed the laws of physics – they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. Jon Ronson went to meet them.  

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Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary

Famously putting on the pounds to play the role, Renée Zellweger received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress as Bridget and charmed even those critics who approached the film expecting to be unimpressed. Helen Fielding’s pissed, chain-smoking London thirty-something is as endearing today as she was the first time you met her.

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Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn

Colm Tóibín’s Costa Award Winning novel is brought to life by Saoirse Ronan as Eilis, a young woman who moves from the Irish town of Enniscorthy to New York in the 50s for promise of a better life. A beautiful, slow-burning gem of a film.