All Women's Talk

7 Reasons to Read the Book before Watching the Movie ...

By Shannon

Have you ever wondered about the reasons to read the book before watching the movie? You’ve likely heard people rave about a book they love then deride the movie interpretation. The movie trailer often features a great cast and musical score, and the familiar literary title. Sometimes you just can’t tell how good the film version will be or if you should have read the book first. To help you a little help in that area, below are seven reasons to read the book before watching the movie.

1 The Book is Your inside Man

There is nothing like having the inside track on a movie plot. If you don’t mind spoilers then reading the book will enhance your movie watching experience. Reading the book before watching the movie gives me a good sense of what I’m about to see. Watching a movie with the details from the book etched my brain is like holding a secret! Having the full Monty on a film is one of my top reasons to read the book before watching the movie.

2 The Plot is Fuller

A movie is typically about two hours long. Now, think about how long it takes you to finish really good book. If you’re like me then you aren’t even close to being done by the end of two hours. Conforming a book to the movie timeframe inevitably leaves out much of the important bits of content and context. Reading the book before watching the film can help fill in the blanks of a reductive movie interpretation.

3 The Characters Are Richer

The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books. The critique of 1920’s upper crust society and exposure to the seedy side of wealth is engaging. Nick Calloway is the well-written main character of this story. He is also the well-written main character that did not translate well to film. Characters from the book often appear in film as thinned out versions of their richer more complex selves.

4 You Can Be the Group inside Informant

It’s difficult to spoil a movie for me. Perhaps that’s why I like to read the book before watching the movie. Have you been in a theater with friends and everyone looks pensive, muttering soft questions and exclamations. Musing over what might happen and why is almost as entertaining as watching the film. It’s fun to have a bit of background information that provides the «ah-ha!» moment for the group.

5 The Real Ending

Rick Riordan’s «Percy Jackson» series was fun to read. I waited anxiously to see the film and when it was released I was like third in line – don’t ask why. While the movie was mildly entertaining the ending gave me cause for a double take. The ending was completely different from the book! Often the ending of a story is changed to fit a timeframe, the writer’s vision, or to anticipate a sequel. Knowledge of the real ending can provide you an alternate conclusion.

6 Amazing Details

Another of the best things about reading a well-written book is the wonderfully descriptive detail. The Lord of The Rings series describes places, people, and clothing in such rich detail that you feel as if you are there. Watching the story on screen after reading the books makes me aware of the environment and metal work. I would have likely missed those particulars without the book.

7 More Suspenseful

I have a love/hate relationship with movies that end really quickly. Sometimes the story moves so fast that it ends without warning. Abbreviating the storyline often lessens the intended suspense. Reading the book can be intensely suspenseful as you follow the author over a longer period of time restricted only by their creativity. This freedom allows the story to flesh out and build suspense in areas the movie misses.

There is no right way to view a movie and book combo. Sometimes the movie is more entertaining than the book! Do you read the book before watching the movie? What are your thoughts? Please, share!

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Readers questions answered