Read It Before You See It 2023: Poe, Daisy Jones, and the end of the world

Hayley breaks down the movies and TV series based on books due to hit screens in the following months.

A Man Called Otto

A Man Called Ove

Fredrik Backman’s beloved novel A Man Called Ove has already been adapted in its native Sweden, earning a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination to boot, but that could never stop Hollywood from having a crack at it too. With a new easier-to-pronounce name and Tom Hanks stepping into the role, the titular curmudgeon has been thoroughly Americanised, resulting in a movie that looks much less cynical and much more twee from Marc Forster, director of Finding Neverland and Christopher Robin. The film follows Otto, a man who recently lost his wife, as he strikes up a friendship with the boisterous new family that has moved in next door, disrupting his carefully curated but deeply lonely life of solitude.

The Pale Blue Eye

The Pale Blue Eye

Edgar Allan Poe is quite the hot commodity at the moment: horror streaming service Shudder recently released Raven’s Hollow, a film inspired by The Raven, while The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan is currently putting his spin on The Fall of the House of Usher for Netflix. Apparently that’s not enough Poe for Netflix though, as they’re also behind the adaptation of Louis Bayard’s The Pale Blue Eye, a novel that imagines the future writer’s assistance in solving a series of murders during his time as a cadet at West Point Academy. Christian Bale leads the film as detective Gus Landor, while Harry Melling stars as the young Poe (ingenious casting) in this gloomy and atmospheric mystery from Antlers director Scott Cooper.

Knock at the Cabin

The Cabin at the End of the World

The Sixth Sense is one of my favourite films, and despite director M. Night Shyamalan’s shaky (to put it lightly) track record since that stellar debut, I find it hard not to root for the guy. But if the b-movie campiness of his 2021 feature Old is anything to go by, his adaptation of Paul Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the World should at least be hugely entertaining. It centres on a family of a young girl and her fathers, as their getaway at a secluded cabin is disturbed by a group of intruders who force them to make a decision in order to prevent, by their claim, the end of the world. Tremblay’s novel is a divisive one, and combined with Shyamalan’s style, the film seems likely to be either great or awful, or a nonsensical mix of both.

Dear Edward

Dear Edward

Get the tissues ready – this is sure to be an emotional one. Ann Napolitano's Dear Edward has tugged on countless heart strings since its release in 2020, and with Apple TV snagging the coveted adaptation rights, this gut-punch of a book will soon be coming to the small screen. Newcomer Colin O'Brien stars as Edward, a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a devastating commercial plane crash that killed everyone else on board, including both his parents and his brother. Partially inspired by the 2010 crash of Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771, the show will follow Edward as he is taken in by his aunt Lacey, and learns to recover from his trauma by connecting with new friends and neighbours, and others who were affected by the tragedy. 

Spoiler Alert

Spoiler Alert

The Big Sick director Michael Showalter has pulled another heart-wrenching romance from real life, adapting TV journalist Michael Ausiello’s memoir Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, about finding and losing his husband Kit Cowan. Blending comedy and drama, the film begins as a romcom, with Jim Parsons’s Michael and Ben Aldridge’s Kit meeting and falling in love, but soon unfolds into tragedy when Kit suffers with and eventually dies from cancer. LGBTQ+ films are often criticised for giving their characters unhappy endings, and unfortunately this won’t be offering a "happily ever after" – the book’s title is evidence enough – but the tear-jerking conclusion of Spoiler Alert comes second to the raw and rocky love story that comes before.

Women Talking

Women Talking

Adding to the great reckoning of media about women standing up to abuse, harassment and gaslighting at the hands of men is Women Talking, an adaptation of Miriam Toews’s 2018 novel. The book is a fictionalised telling of the rampant and brutal assault against female members of a Mennonite community in Bolivia for years during the 2000s, envisioning a meeting of the women in which they discuss their options: stay and do nothing, stay and fight, or leave. The harrowing film is helmed by actor-turned-director Sarah Polley, with an impressive cast including Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley and Frances McDormand, all of whom received widespread acclaim for their performances during the film’s lengthy festival run in the latter end of 2022.

Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones & the Six

Just scraping by as the first adaptation for best-selling author Taylor Jenkins Reid (One True Loves will feature in the next quarterly post), Daisy Jones & the Six is bringing all the behind-the-scenes drama of a ‘70s rock band to Amazon Prime Video. Unsubtly inspired by the tumultuous relationships between the members of Fleetwood Mac, the novel recounts both the personal and professional highs and lows of the eponymous band, eventually leading to a shock breakup at the height of their success. Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough dusts off her rock ‘n roll legacy to star as the lead singer Daisy-slash-Stevie-Nicks, with Sam Claflin sharing the screen as her Lindsey Buckingham-esque counterpart.

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