The Notebook (2004)
The reason that the film adaptation of The Notebook eclipses the bestselling Nicholas Sparks book is simple: It’s impossible to capture the sizzling chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. The Canadian duo – and former couple – star in the popular romantic drama as Allie and Noah, a young couple who fall in love in 1940s South Carolina. Meanwhile, in the modern day, an elderly man reads their story from a notebook to a woman in a nursing home. Chances are, you already know how this moving story ends, which means you also know that its tear-jerking ending hits harder on-screen than it ever could on the page.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Meryl Streep may not have won an Oscar for her role as intimidating fashion magazine editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada – but she should have. While Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 novel is reportedly inspired by her experiences working as Anna Wintour’s assistant at Vogue, Streep portrays the role with much more nuance than she’s presented with in the book. Anne Hathaway also shines as Andy Sachs, a fashion industry-averse journalism grad who nevertheless hopes to jumpstart her career as Priestly’s assistant. Plus, it’s more fun to see Devil’s countless elegant outfits – from Chanel to Fendi – on-screen.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
It’s a credit to Stephen King’s talents that this ‘90s classic remains beloved today. King, of course, is mostly known for his horror writing, but this Oscar-nominated drama – about a man (Tim Robbins) who, despite his professed innocence, is sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife and her lover, and his friendship with a fellow prisoner (Morgan Freeman) – closely follows the material from his novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. But the film also takes the opportunity to expand on the story, telling it in such a rich, compelling way that sticks with viewers long after the credits roll.