Almost as soon as the “moving picture” was invented, movie adaptations of classic literature have been brought to the big screen. With Thomas Vinterberg’s “Far from the Madding Crowd” hitting theaters tomorrow, I thought it would be apropos to delve into some of the adaptations that came before.
Grab your tea and biscuits; these movies are all worth a watch.
Die-hard fans of Jane Austen’s novel of the same name had some beef with Douglas McGrath’s adaptation of the story, but that shouldn’t keep you from seeing the film. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Emma, the wannabe matchmaker who ends up causing more confusion than love connections. The supporting cast includes Alan Cumming, Toni Collette, and Ewan McGregor among others.
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
This Austen novel is easily one of my favorite books of all time, and Deborah Maggach’s adaptation coupled with Joe Wright’s direction did Austen’s novel justice. Keira Knightley stars as Elizabeth Bennett and Matthew McFadyen as Mr. Darcy.
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Baz Luhrmann’s late nineties adaptation of the Shakespeare classic brought the story into modern times. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes play the star-crossed lovers. Luhrmann’s style isn’t for everyone, but the film stayed true to the story, while making it more relevant for younger audiences.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Okay, this one isn’t exactly an adaptation of a classic novel, but it is one of my favorite movies. Joseph Fiennes plays young William Shakespeare who has sold a play he had not yet begun to write. He searches for a muse and finds one in Viola de Lesseps, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, the love story that unfolds between the two ends up being the inspiration Shakespeare needed.
“Far from the Madding Crowd” stars Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Michael Sheen, and Matthias Schoenaerts. Will this adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel be added to your list of favorites? Check out the trailer below.