These are the book-to-movie adaptations we’ll be reading and watching for the rest of the year.
By Jessica Dukes
We have a lot to look forward to in the second half of 2019. So many of our favorite books – recent bestsellers and beloved classics – are headed to the big screen. While it’s nice to curl up on the couch in front of the TV, sometimes we just want to enjoy a show in a theater with buttered popcorn and a few hundred strangers. Here’s what we’ll be watching … and re-reading.
Starring: Kevin Costner, Amanda Seyfried, Milo Ventimiglia
Genre: Drama, Comedy
All dog owners have, at least once if not daily, wondered what their dog is thinking. Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain is a bestseller because it creates this storyline with Enzo (voiced by Costner), a dog who is convinced that he is destined to become a human. Through Enzo’s eyes, we study every moment of joy and defeat that makes a life – an exercise that gives you pause whether you’ve ever owned a dog or not. A tearjerker on the page, it’s sure to be one in the theaters, too. In theaters: August 9, 2019.
Starring: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush
Raise your hand if you and your friends held flashlights under your chins and read from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark at slumber parties back in the day. In three volumes, Alvin Schwartz collected and retold dozens of stories from American folklore, teasing out the creepiest parts throughout. Disturbing black and white illustrations put everything over the top. All these years later, the chance to see our childhood nightmares on the big screen is a thrill we do not want to miss. In theaters: August 9, 2019.
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup
Genre: Comedy, Drama
We can’t wait to see Blanchett as Bernadette Fox – a once-hot architect superstar, who has slid into, for lack of a more candid description, a mid-life crisis. In Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, being forced into an extravagant family vacation is Bernadette’s tipping point, inspiring her to cut herself free from everyone’s expectations. That’s when, according to her husband and daughter, she just … disappears. As a movie, the escapism is going to be fun to watch. In theaters: August 16, 2019.
Starring: Bill Skarsgård, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain
If you weren’t already scared of clowns, reading Stephen King’s IT will forever change your mind. Pennywise the Clown terrified moviegoers in 2017, lurking in the dankest corners of Derry, Maine, abducting children and drawing them into a battle they were sure to lose. In this movie sequel, the same kids who fought Pennywise long ago are back – this time as adults – ready to face their fears and kill the clown once and for all. We’re definitely going to freak out a bit when we see that red balloon again. In theaters: September 6, 2019.
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Jeffrey Wright
Theo (Fegley/Elgort) is orphaned at age 13 and clings to the memory of his mother as he grows up, learns to trust, and builds a life for himself. Adapting a 700-page, Pulitzer Prize-winning, coming-of-age novel to a screenplay and then a movie is not an enviable task. This will be a movie to savor, thanks to an amazing cast, rich imagery of the book, and an improbable story that begs to be believed. We won’t be surprised one bit if The Goldfinch wins a few more awards. In theaters: September 13, 2019.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Michael Kenneth Williams
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Finally! Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn, an award-winning favorite among readers, is coming to theaters 20 years after it was released. Lionel (Norton) and his friends have made it out of St. Vincent’s Home for Boys alive. They’re devoted to their boss, Frank Minna (Willis), who runs a few less-than-legal operations. Life is surprisingly stable until Minna’s sudden, violent death breaks up Lionel’s crew, and sends him on a new mission: Find Frank’s killer regardless of the danger. In theaters: November 1, 2019.
Starring: Kyliegh Curran, Ewan McGregor
Fans of The Shining were thrilled when King finally wrote a follow up, Doctor Sleep, 36 years later. Now, we’ve waited even longer – 39 years – for the movie sequel. Danny Torrance (McGregor) is all grown up and living as normal a life as he can. He’s not at all excited to meet Abra (Curran), a child who shares his mysterious powers, especially as she draws him into the life-or-death battle he has been trying to avoid since his fateful trip to the Overlook Hotel. Stephen King is everywhere these days, but you won’t hear us complaining about two scary back-to-back sequels in the same year. In theaters: November 8, 2019.
Starring: Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen
Genre: Drama, Romance
It’s a good thing that movie theaters are open on Christmas Day because seeing Meryl Streep as Aunt March in the most recent adaptation of Little Women is definitely something we plan on doing after all the presents are unwrapped. Although it’s a story we’ve read and watched before, Director Greta Gerwig’s take is already generating a lot of buzz, as is Saoirse Ronan’s portrayal of the enigmatic Jo March. A holiday family story centered on a group of smart, strong women is always a must-see. In theaters: December 25, 2019.