Does anyone else find the fall movie season a relief after the big blockbusters of summer? Rather than action-movie explosions and larger-than-life animations, all engineered to draw viewers into theaters and away from their vacations, films released in the autumn months tend to be a little more thoughtful, quiet, or even inspired by literary originals. So as you gear up for your big screen adventures, here’s a pairing guide for what to read when you leave the theater.
If you're excited about this dark comedic thriller starring Anna Kendrick as a mommy vlogger who discovers her new best friend, played by Blake Lively, might be hiding secrets, then you need to pick up THE PERFECT STRANGER by Megan Miranda. In it, journalist Leah Stevens impulsively moves to rural Pennsylvania with her old roommate, Emmy. Once there, however, mysterious events and Emmy's sudden disappearance lead Leah to realize just how little she knows about her friend.
Read the full review of THE PERFECT STRANGER.
If you thought Jennifer Garner was too sweet to return to action films, get ready for Peppermint. Garner plays a mother who transforms her grief over her family's murder into years of training and plotting revenge, hoping to take down everyone she holds responsible. If you're craving another character who takes the turn from quiet woman to revenge killer, Stephen King's novella "Big Driver," from the collection FULL DARK, NO STARS, features a mystery writer who hunts down her assailant after being brutally attacked on a quiet country road. Hell hath no fury like a woman out for vengeance.
“What I love about FULL DARK, NO STARS and what never ceases to blow me away about Stephen King’s work is that while these stories are chilling, macabre, and suspenseful, they transcend all of the expectations that come with the genre and have truly perceptive and keenly observed insights into the human psyche.”
In Operation Finale, Oscar Isaac stars as the Israeli secret agent Peter Malkin who infiltrated Argentina in order to hunt down and capture SS officer Adolf Eichmann. After his capture, Eichmann stood trial in Israel, causing the world at large to deliberate about accountability, horrifying history, and justice on an individual level. Similarly, the literary novel THE READER by Bernhard Schlink, follows an intimate relationship between a young man, Michael, and the older Hanna. After an abrupt end to their romance, years pass before Michael next sees Hanna while attending a trial where she is held accountable for the murder of hundreds of women at Auschwitz. Michael must reconcile her involvement with his understanding of her as an individual and the weight of a dark history hanging over every survivor.
When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover—then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder. An Oprah Book Club selection
In Colette, perennial period-drama star Keira Knightly embodies the French writer whose first novels following French schoolgirl Claudine, were published under her husband's name. Colette shares some emotional traits with the heroine of Meg Wolitzer's novel THE WIFE, featuring the devoted spouse of an illustrious writer and the story of how their entwined lives produce bestselling books. Bonus: go see the adaption of Wolitzer's book starring Glenn Close after finishing the novel.
Imbued with the characteristic wit and intelligence that Meg Wolitzer brought to The Interestings, The Wife raises big questions about voice, marriage, power, and gender in literature. Slim but smart, this provocative story can be read in a day, but it will remain on your mind for much longer. A film adaptation starring Glenn Close and Frances McDormand is in the works and we would watch those two titans of acting in just about anything.
In this fantastical film, Jack Black plays an enigmatic uncle who opens his house to a recently orphaned nephew, but the house—and this uncle—are not all they seem. Mysterious real estate also plays a key role in Mark Z. Danielewski's debut novel, HOUSE OF LEAVES, in which a young couple and their children move into a new home only to discover the building is somehow larger on the inside than out. Things only become stranger as new hallways and doors appear, a chilling invitation to explore deeper and deeper into the dark unknown around them.
Read the full review of HOUSE OF LEAVES.
A young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.