Book Article

Reel Lit

Movies based on books -- We rate the latest film adaptations including ''The Duchess,'' ''Blindness,'' and ''Choke''

Movies based on books

Curious about the latest book-to-movie adaptations? Check out our take on whether these stories work better on the page or on the screen.

Book
Georgiana by Amanda Foreman (Winner)
A savvy aristocrat whose accomplishments were limited only by the social constraints of her time, Georgiana Cavendish, a.k.a. the Duchess of Devonshire, endured heartbreak and betrayal at the hands of an unloving husband.

Movie
The Duchess directed by Saul Dibb
Georgiana's intelligence and spirit come through, but her pioneering involvement in politics is downplayed in favor of the romantic scandals that made her the prototype for modern tabloid stars.

Book
Blindness by José Saramago (Winner)
In long, never-ending sentences, and paragraphs that go on for pages, Saramago's nonetheless effortlessly readable novel imagines a state in which, out of nowhere, almost everyone is suddenly stricken with ''white blindness.'' A masterpiece.

Movie
Blindness directed by Fernando Meirelles
It's a fantastical story full of horrors, too literal for the screen. Meirelles' adaptation — starring Julianne Moore — can't help but lose much of Saramago's allegorical impact in translation.

Book
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (Winner)
Palahniuk's outrageously titillating 2001 novel is a dark, deeply upsetting look at the life of sad-sack Victor Mancini, a sex addict who can't even manage to keep his mitts off his demented mother's doctor.

Movie
Choke directed by Clark Gregg
With Sam Rockwell as Mancini, Anjelica Huston as his mother, and Kelly Macdonald as the doc, Gregg has given the film a satirical and endearing lightness that provokes snickering rather than, um, choking up.

Originally posted Sep 26, 2008 Published in issue #1014 Oct 03, 2008 Order article reprints