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The Best Books-Turned-Movies to Keep You busy During Winter Break

Winter break is here for college students, and now is the best time to catch up on the books and movies we missed during the busy semester! Each of these books and their film adaptations kept me sane and entertained in what seemed like a never-ending, crazy year. Some of these stories provided humor and hope during uncertain times, while others gave me a renewed sense of excitement and suspense during monotonous quarantine days. 

As someone who loves to compare books to their movies, I think all of these films are artful and accurate representations of the best parts of the books. So, here are some books-turned-movies I recommend to help you relax during winter break!

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones’s Diary is one of my all-time favorite books-turned-movies! The story follows Bridget Jones, a 32-year-old British woman who’s single, insecure, and trying to figure herself out. The novel is written as though we’re reading Jones’s diary – her perspective on everything from men to her weight is hilarious and relatable. I truly enjoyed Jones’s humor and optimism, even when she finds herself stuck in a love triangle between two men who are polar opposites. 

In the film adaptation of the book, Renée Zellweger (who plays Bridget Jones), Hugh Grant (who plays love interest Daniel Cleaver), and Colin Firth (who plays love interest Mark Darcy) are a comedic and turbulent trio that make the film a fun adventure. The three actors all deliver performances that chick-lit fans like myself will adore; the rom-com even scored Zellweger her first Academy Award nomination. The nomination is not only telling of how well she plays Jones, but also indicative of how amazing the overall film is as well – since it’s rare for rom-coms to get Oscar attention.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is a classic novel read and adored by all (or, hopefully, most!) lit lovers. The story follows the four March sisters and their desire to find their place in the world during the Civil War. Each of the sisters has a unique personality, but their sisterly bond is what makes the book so heartwarming. Little Women is a reminder of the importance of family during tough times, as well as the fact that we don’t have to conform to society’s expectations. 

There have been many film adaptations of the book, but Greta Gerwig’s 2019 take on the classic story is by far the best. It’s filled with famous, well-renowned actors and actresses, including  Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, and Emma Watson. The film was a major success with critics and still lives on as Gerwig’s greatest masterpiece.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You incorporates all of my favorite elements of chick-lit, from a happy-go-lucky main character to a Kleenex-worthy ending. The story follows spunky, free-willed protagonist Louisa Clark, who works for and falls in love with Will Traynor, a qudriplegic who’s lost his zest for life due to the accident that paraylzed him. This book made me laugh and cry for Louisa, who tries to make the world a bit brighter for someone so deep in darkness. 

The movie adaptation stars Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, who make an unlikely but unforgettable acting duo. Clarke shines in her performance as Louisa, acting with the charisma the actress is known for. While the film is sadder than the book, the story of Me Before You is one I’ll always enjoy and remember. 

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

Red Sparrow is not the type of book I usually pick up, but once I did, I finished it in one day and read it without stopping. The plot follows Dominika Egorova, a ballerina whose life is changed after an injury forces her to become a Sparrow – a dangerous government spy. I really enjoyed the fact that the story had a female lead, since men often take that role in spy stories. The book is full of suspense and action, and, for me, it sparked a newfound interest in female-led action stories. 

The film stars Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika, and the Oscar-winner went outside of her usual roles to successfully play this complex, dynamic character. Just like the novel, the film kept me on the edge of my seat, even when I knew what was going to happen. 

Although the end of 2020 is something we’re all looking forward to, I’ve been able to appreciate certain aspects of the last year. As I reflected on the year, I realized I enjoyed the simpler things, like reading these novels and seeing how directors and actors transform the characters and stories for the screen. Winter break is a great time to relax after a long year, and with these books in-hand and films on-screen, there’s no doubt your break will be infinitely better!

Melissa is currently a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Economics. She loves to travel, read books, do yoga, and watch rom-coms!
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