That awkward moment when a movie is better than the book…

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Books are always better than the movies… or are they?

This week in my ethics class we are learning about categorical imperatives… AKA something that is always true, in like, every circumstance imaginable. And of course, me being obsessed with books and all, thought “oh! Like how movies are always better than the books!”

But that got me thinking…

Yeah, sure. There are some AWFUL book to movie adaptations (Percy Jackson I’m looking at you), but there actually have been some adaptations that I’ve enjoyed more than the book.

So categorical imperative this is not.

But… how can a movie ever compare to the book?!?!

Honestly, this is a question I ask myself after watching every single awful adaptation out there. Right after I ask myself “why did I think this was going to be any better than the million other awful adaptations I’ve forced myself to sit through?”

But, surprisingly, it is possible. There are a few I can think of, but the one example that stands out most in my mind is Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.

Don’t get my wrong: I didn’t have a problem with the book. I actually ended up giving it five stars (check out my review here), but the movie was just better.

The movie had everything I needed from the story. I don’t feel like it missed anything or changed anything. And, I got to look at Sam Claflin’s beautiful face for two hours… which definitely didn’t hurt.

To break it down: I feel like the movie gave me the same story and a better experience.

<big?I cried when I watched the movie (all three times), but not when I read the book. And I cry at everything. So what does that tell you?

What makes a movie better than the book it was based off of?

Honestly this can come down to a number of factors.

1. Watching the movie before reading the book.


I actually watched the first Percy Jackson movie before reading the books and liked it. Then I read the books, fell in love with them, re-watched the movie and saw what an awful adaptation it really is.mortal_instruments_city_of_bones_ver11_xlg

Another version of this however: I watched the City of Bones movie before reading the book. I really liked the movie and have actually seen it more than once (yeah yeah I know that a lot of people don’t like it… but let me live, okay?) but when I tried to read the first book I actually kind of hated it and couldn’t get into it at all. And while I was reading, I kept comparing what was happening in the book to what happened in the movie and found myself thinking “no, that’s not right” even though the book came first…

2. The movie containing the same story but better.


I think this happens when a movie is able to take the essentials from the book and use the visual/audio aspects of movies along with the story to deliver a seriously amazing masterpiece.

This happened to me with both Me Before You (as mentioned above) and Room by Emma Donoghue.

3. The movie takes the idea of the book but delivers a completely different story (which it pulls off brilliantly)


A movie adaptation that does this is Nerve by Jeanne Ryan. The story line in the movie and the book are completely different, yet follow the same characters in the same high-stakes competition. Yeah, of course there are some similar scenes, but for the most part the stories follow their own path. And while I did love the book, the movie was a bit more entertaining.

Talk to me:

What other reasons could a movie be better than the book? What movies did you enjoy more than the book? Let me know in the comments below!

20 thoughts on “That awkward moment when a movie is better than the book…

  1. I watched Eragon before reading the book and loved the movie. Then I read the book and loved it too but I realized that the movie is a terrible adaptation. But as long as I don’t compare them I can still love both!

    Also I really liked the movie version of the Watchmen. The movie took out a whole storyline that I thought was pointless anyway and then it changed the ending. (they had to change it because that pointless second storyline actually explained the ending, but it was still weird) I actually liked the movie ending better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve seen Eragon and remember loving it, but I haven’t gotten around to the books quite yet (I will eventually).
      I haven’t read or watched Watchmen either… but I totally get what you mean. I liked the story line and ending of Nerve in the movie more than the book.


  2. Great post! I was thinking about Room as soon as I started reading it and then you mentioned it and I was like YES.

    I did watch the movie before reading the book though! The book was disturbing, but the movie made me cry multiple times (because of the visuals/audio!) and I’d literally never cried at a movie before that moment so?

    I can’t think of any specific examples but I think if I like the cast of a movie, I enjoy it more than the book? Or, at the very least, I enjoy awful adaptations if I like the cast or I am inclined to watch movies of books I didn’t really enjoy if I like the actors!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the movie version of Room was just so much more compelling.
      Awful adaptations can be fun if the cast is great. But one that really let me down was Maximus Ride. I knew it was gonna be bad but it was so painful I couldn’t even get past the first half hour.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. waaaaaiiiiiit a minute………this week in MY ethics class we’ve been talking about the categorical imperative!!!


    also sam claflin is SUCH a babe.

    great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Blog Posts I Loved in March – Birdie Bookworm

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