If you want to know what to watch on Netflix, consider a book movie adaptation. Adapting a book into a movie has its challenges. For example, it’s difficult to condense a book with hundreds of pages into a film which can only be a few hours. Filmmakers may also find that it is difficult to portray settings and characters as readers imagined them to be. Also importantly, filmmakers have a limited budget to work with. Writers can write a story about whatever they want without worrying about paying for the physical manifestation of it. Although, “The book was better,” is a popular refrain, many book to movie adaptations are actually excellent. These are the best movies based on books available to watch on Netflix in the United States and in Canada.
Based on Gillian Flynn’s book, Gone Girl is the story of Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck. Police suspect Dunne is responsible for the disappearance of his wife Amy Dunne – played by Rosamund Pike. This thriller takes place in Missouri.
Based on the book by Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a neo-noir psychological thriller about a hacker who assists a journalist in his search for a killer. This story is one of murder mystery, love and intrigue.
This movie, based on James Dashner’s novel, is about a young man named Thomas who wakes up in the middle of a gigantic maze with no recollection of how he got there. Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien, joins a community and their campaign to find a way out of the maze.
Based on Tom Calancy’s novel of the same name, this movie is about the captain of a Soviet submarine (Marko Ramius played by Sean Connery), who, against the orders of his superiors, approaches the U.S. coast. A CIA agent (Jack Ryan played by Alec Baldwin) tries to uncover the Captain’s potentially threatening motives.
Based on the book by Lisa Genova, this movie is about the impact of an early Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis on a successful, fifty-year-old Harvard linguistics professor (Alice, played by Julianne Moore). This film is about the pains of aging, but is also a story about determination and perseverance.
This film is based on Jordan Belfort’s novel of the same name, depicting his own journey to become an affluent stock-broker who gets swept up in a life of crime and corruption. Belfort’s character is played by Leonardo Dicaprio.
Based on Mickey Rapkin’s work of nonfiction called Pitch Perfect: The Quest for a Collegiate a Cappella Glory, this film follows the Barden Bellas – a college all-girl singing group known for pop songs and being hot. Beca – played by Anna Kendrick – becomes the newest addition to the group.
In this early 2000s classic, teenage Cady is plucked from her unconventional upbringing as a homeschooler in Africa and dropped into the traditional high school ecosystem where she falls in with a stuck-up crowd.
This film is based on Harper Lee’s canon classic novel of the same name. This coming of age story is narrated through the perspective of a young girl named Scout, whose father Atticus defends a Black man who has been accused of rape.
Based on Cecelia Ahern’s novel, this film is about a young woman (Holly played by Hilary Swank), coping with the grief of losing her husband to cancer. Holly’s late husband left her a series of letters to read after his passing in order to ease her grief. Although the story does not sound especially groundbreaking, the movie was very successful.
Jacqui Donaldson is an American writer and teacher. Her work has been published in The Vehicle, Loud Coffee Press, Across the Margin and others. Connect with Jacqui on Instagram and Twitter @Jacquiverse.