It’s the Age Old Debate: can the film ever be as good as the book? Whether you’re a die-hard-book-believer, or a silver-screen-supporter, Daisy Game gathers together a selection of 2023’s best page to screen adaptations…
Hold onto your popcorn, people – Hollywood’s Coolest Couple (not up for debate) have had a crack at adapting Don DeLillo’s White Noise. Noah Baumbach (directing) and Greta Gerwig’s (starring) latest flick has divided audiences; Literary Hub celebrate White Noise as “vibrant, unafraid and compelling”, whilst to The Guardian, it’s of the more “laboriously quirky” variety. Story and dialogue are certainly dense, and with plot points including an ‘airborne toxic event’ and a supermarket dance-off, there’s plenty to chew on – you just may need a break or three in order to enjoy the full meal. But White Noise, curious as it may be, is worth a watch – if only for Gerwig’s excellent wig | netflix.com
Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults throws its audience through a loop of the less confusing, more cerebral kind. The Italian author’s (relatively streamlined, by comparison to her Neapolitan tomes) coming-of-age tells the story of Giovanna Trada, whose life takes a turn for the strange after she overhears the beautiful Mr and Mrs Trada discussing how ‘ugly’ their daughter has become. Ferrante has been doing pretty well for herself – whoever ‘herself’ may be: the Italian novelist’s identity remains a mystery – in the page-to-screen department. Picked up by Sky back in 2018, the writer’s Neapolitan novels kicked off a cultish craze for all things Elena; Netflix were next to bite-the-bait, assembling a trendy team (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Olivia Coleman, Paul Mescal) for its critically acclaimed adaptation of The Lost Daughter (2022); now, it’s the turn of Adults – and once again, the goods have been delivered. The series is incredibly stylish – from cinematography, to wardrobe, to toe-tapping soundtrack – and oh-so-Ferrante (light, carefree conversation – begone). This is beautiful, absorbing television | Streaming now on netflix.com
Let’s hear it for Netflix! The streaming service turned mega-movie-churner-outer is dominating the adaptation game, having recently bagged production rights for Guillermo Del Toro’s stop motion animation,Pinocchio (the original story for which comes from Italian author Carlo Collodi’s novel of the same name). As is the Del Toro way, Pinocchio sports a strong political backbone; set against the backdrop of Fascist Italy during the interwar and Second World War periods, the Oscar winning director’s latest features some fairly unsavoury characters and plot points beneath its more family-friendly exterior. It’s not scary, exactly, but it is unsettling – and strangely moving. Pinocchio is a story about life, love, identity – and the little power that we have over any of them | Streaming now on netflix.com
From Fascism to Fleetwood (Mac), Amazon Studios is giving Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Sixa Hollywood makeover. Jones’ bestseller documents the journey of a rock ‘n’ roll outfit from the ‘70s (thought to be based on Fleetwood Mac) as they rise to fame on the LA music scene – before crashing back down again. The first-look pictures are fabulous; Sam Claflin and Suki Waterhouse lounging about in bell-bottoms and bigger-than-big hair seems like a sensible thing to get excited about. Daisy Jones & The Six will arrive on Amazon Prime on 3 March | amazon.co.uk/amazonprime
Reid’s isn’t the only tuneful adaptation to hit screens this year; perhaps the most hotly anticipated of all 2023 adaptations, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple is getting a musical reboot – with none other than American icon/institution Oprah Winfrey at its helm. The Pulitzer prize-winning novel tells the story of Celie, a young black girl born in the deep American South to a life of segregation and poverty; but when Celie meets glamorous and headstrong singer Shug Avery, things take an unexpected turn. Oprah is no stranger to Walker’s text, having starred in Steven Spielberg’s first screen adaptation of the novel back in 1985. The 2023 version will be directed by Blitz Bazawule – and Spielberg returns to help out on the production side of things. The Color Purple arrives in cinemas on 20 December. Time enough for a re-read, then.
Featured image: Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig in White Noise | Credit: Wilson Webb/Netflix