Adaptations in film and television have become some of the most popular franchises and series today. From Harry Potter to Game of Thrones to the countless Nicholas Sparks movies that find their way to the cinema, books have become the stepping stones to getting some of the most creative storylines on the screen. Adaptations from stage to film are also wildly popular, like the 2012 film Les Misèrables, and 2013 film August: Osage County, receiving critical acclaim in the past couple of years. The upcoming BFI London Film Festival is following the adaptation trend with five stand-out book/play/documentary adaptations to watch out for.
Based on Patricia Highsmith’s groundbreaking novel The Price of Salt, Carol stars Cate Blanchet as the titular 1950s socialite who, after a chance encounter with aspiring photographer Therese (Rooney Mara), finds herself helplessly attracted. Both Blanchett and Mara shine as two women falling in love in an era when nothing could be more scandalous. Director Todd Haynes frames their story delicately and with care, examining the idea of perfect femininity as well as the fearlessness birthed by love. Carol also stars Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, and John Magaro in supporting roles.
Should she stay in her safe homeland of Ireland, or in Brooklyn, with the new and exciting promise of America? With men waiting for her on both sides, this is the choice that Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) faces in Brooklyn, the film adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name, written by Colm Tóibín. After Eilis successfully emigrates to New York from Ireland, she quickly falls for the confidence and dreams of Italian-American, Tony (Emory Cohen). But, following a family emergency, Eilis returns to Ireland where she catches the eye of Jim (Domnhall Gleeson). Creating a love story for the ages, Director John Crowley hascaptured the magic and romance of 1950s America. Brooklyn also stars Jim Broadbent, Julie Waters, and Emily Bett Rickards.
High Rise opens with quite the provocative imagery. As a dishevelled man (Tom Hiddleston) sits down to eat a barbecued dog, we flash back to just months before current day, to see where everything went wrong for him. The film follows Hiddleston’s character, Dr Robert Liang, who has just moved into a new, luxurious high rise apartment and is immediately seduced by the lavish parties and people he meets in his new setting. Liang ends up meeting and befriending a documentary filmmaker who lives on the second floor, and their meeting has dire consequences for the rest of the building. Working off of J.G. Ballard’s haunting 1975 novel of the same name, Director Ben Wheatley has created a dark, dark satire that must been seen to be believed. High Rise also stars Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, and Luke Evans.
BEASTS OF NO NATION
An unflinching look at one of the worst practices currently happening in this day and age, Beasts of No Nation pulls absolutely no punches. Based on Uzodinma Iweala’s harrowing 2005 novel, the film is set in an unspecified African country in an unspecified war, where we are introduced to Agu (Abraham Attah), a young boy who witnesses horrible atrocities and must adapt to survive the horrific whims of The Commandant (Idris Elba), who keeps his army of child soldiers subservient with a mix of bravado and hard drugs. Elba delivers a never-better performance, and Attah is an absolute revelation as a boy with experiences far beyond his years. Cary Fukunaga, fresh off his triumphant season of True Detective, has crafted a film with Beasts of No Nation that is hard to stomach, but that must be watched.
Zack (Dylan Minnette)is a new kid in a new town with a huge crush on the girl next door, Hannah (Odeya Rush). Too bad her mysterious dad keeps locked up in her house and home schools her! After trying to help her get out of the house, Zack accidently ends up unleashing a huge number of monsters, ghouls, spirits and things that go bump in the night. With nothing to lose and a whole mess of monsters to catch, Hannah’s father reveals his true identity: R.L. Stein (Jack Black), author of 59 Goosebumps novels, and the only man who can save the world. Director Rob Letterman uses characters from dozens of Stein’s Goosebumps novels to create a fun and exciting ride for the whole family in his new film, Goosebumps
All of these films will be screening at the BFI London Film Festival, 7 October to 18 October 2015.