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10 Streaming Movies Based On Books That Will Stop You From Saying "The Book Is Better"

As part of the generation raised on seeing Harry Potter books cut down to the barest of storylines in the film adaptations, I think it's easy to feel skeptical toward any and all book-to-movie adaptations. If I stay focused on just how much was changed or eliminated from the Harry Potter films, it's easy to maintain that mindset, but I have to remind myself there are plenty of movies out there that have served the books they're based on well. Of course, there are also some adaptations I'd rather pretend don't exist, so to help you filter those out, below are 10 streaming movies based on books that won't forever ruin the original story for you.

Every now and then, a movie achieves the unthinkable and, in the long run, makes people forget that it's even based on a book. The Notebook is infinitely better than Nicholas Sparks' book, plus when was the last time you heard someone say that they were reading the book to compare stories? Other movies completely transform the original story, a la The Princess Diaries, and you grow to respect the movie and the book as separate things, but these picks fall on the more faithful side of movie adaptations. Put those TBR lists to the side for a movie marathon!

1'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot' (2016)

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Available on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Based on foreign correspondent Kim Barker's memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot adds just enough comedy to Barker's original work that its story of journalists living together and chasing down dangerous stories in early 2000s Afghanistan is fascinating rather than terrifying. Give Barker's book a read too just for its unique perspective, but you'll definitely appreciate seeing Tina Fey in a more grounded light in the movie adaptation.

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2'To Kill a Mockingbird' (1962)

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Available on Netflix

Both Harper Lee's novel and the classic film are lauded in their respective industries for depicting racial inequality in a small Southern town. While the film has some stylistic changes and small differences in character details, it's an accurate adaptation that also uses its visual elements to its advantage. If you haven't already watched this in high school English class, now's the time to check it out.

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3'The BFG' (2016)

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Available on Netflix

When it comes to movie adaptations of Roald Dahl books, the different versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory get all the attention, but The BFG was an underrated, sweet take on Dahl's story about a harmless giant befriending a lonely orphan girl. The movie didn't get much attention upon its release, despite being directed by Steven Spielberg, but isn't that connection alone enough of an endorsement to watch?

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4'Atonement' (2007)

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Available on Netflix

Before she was the next Meryl Streep in the making, Saoirse Ronan was a tween starring alongside Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in this adaptation of Ian McEwan's hit novel taking place throughout 1930s England. I've attempted to read the book Atonement several times and never manage to get past the first five chapters. I'm taking that as a sign that the movie following a young girl's manipulation of her sister's relationship with a young man must have something more approachable about it.

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5'Beasts of No Nation' (2015)

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Available on Netflix

This Netflix original is adapted from the novel with the same name written by Uzodinma Iweala. Following the journey of a boy forced to become a child soldier in an unspecified African country, the movie and the book are both so heavy that it's understandable if you can only manage one of them, but the book emphasizes child soldier Agu's first-person narrative in such an immersive way that I'd recommend looking into both if you can.

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6'Gone With the Wind' (1939)

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Available on Amazon Prime

Similar to The Notebook, I don't think I've met anyone who has read the entire book Gone With the Wind, perhaps because the movie has reached a level of fame that just completely overshadows the original work. Running nearly four hours long, the movie requires fierce commitment to finish in one sitting, but it's considered a classic for a reason. And if you don't finish it in one day? "After all, tomorrow is another day."

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7'Like Water for Chocolate' (1992)

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Available on Netflix

Originally published in Spanish as Como agua para chocolate, Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate introduces Tita, who loves Pedro but, as the youngest daughter in her family, can't marry until her mother dies. Stuck under her mother's rule until then, Tita chooses to express herself through her Mexican cooking instead. If you love your book-to-movie adaptations to have a streak of feminism in them, Like Water for Chocolate might be for you.

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8'Bridget Jones's Diary' (2001)

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Available on Netflix

If you're willingly looking up lists of movies based on books, I would like to think that you're already a fan of Bridget Jones's Diary. Helen Fielding's original book is also a delight, but there's something about seeing Bridget's antics play out visually that makes the film version irresistible. The film's sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, is based on Fielding's own followup book, but if you happen to know how Fielding's third Bridget book goes, the movie Bridget Jones's Baby is its own story.

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9'Queen of Katwe' (2016)

Disney Movie Trailers on YouTube

Available on Netflix

Tim Crothers wrote The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster, the non-fiction book about Phiona Mutesi. Queen of Katwe shares the true story but with the occasional cinematic flair, but the result is a movie with the same spirit of the more serious Disney Channel Original Movies like The Color of Friendship and Tiger Cruise. When it comes to movies based on non-fiction books, it's almost better to watch the movie beforehand and then read the book for more of the facts, and that works in the case of Queen Katwe.

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10'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close' (2011)

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Available on Netflix

This adaptation drew some mixed responses, but given its cast including Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Viola Davis, it leans on the strong side for me. If you cried at Jonathan Safran Foer's book about a young boy's treasure hunt through New York City following his father's death in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you'll need to have an entire box of tissues on hand for watching the movie.

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I may need to put a hold on some of my planned reads just to catch up on some of these adaptations. What are some of your favorite movies based on books?