Being the tea sipping bookworm that I am, I rarely watch movies. But when I do they are usually movies that remind me of tea and books; either classics that stand the test of time or new films that make you think of former days. Recently, I began a hunt for movies about books and decided to share 6 cinematic discoveries that I think true book lovers must see.
#1. The Jane Austen Book Club
The Jane Austen Book Club was released in 2007 (seems like forever ago, right?) rated as PG-13. SIDE NOTE: By the way, all the movies on this list are family friendly. A character named Jocelyn played by Maria Bello along with her many-time married friend named Bernadette (played by Kathy Baker) decide to start a book club exclusively dedicated to Jane Austen, primarily to help distract their friend Sylvia (played by Amy Brenneman) whose husband is having an affair. The book club members unite to discuss popular works of Austen, such as Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and Mansfield Park. Each month is dedicated to one book.
Frustrated French teacher Prudie (played by Emily Blunt, one of my favorite actors, LOVED HER IN THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA!!, and who so happens to be my favorite character in this film). Sylvia’s daughter, Allegra (played by Maggie Grace) and sci-fi fan, Grigg (played by Hugh Dancy) also join the book club accompanied with their complicated love lives.
Ok, so I loved this film because who doesn’t love Jane Austen? A film about a book club solely dedicated to Jane Austen just sounds amazing. The Jane Austen Book Club isn’t a big budget film, I don’t know how you feel about this but I kind of like it. Small budget films tend to have a home-y and comfortable vibe that draws you into the characters and their stories.
Besides, I think just hearing Austen’s writings being read aloud and commented on in the movie is more than enough to want to watch!
#2. Book Club
Ok, you had me at Diane Keaton, like seriously I absolutely L-O-V-E her! Who doesn’t, right? Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen also performed very well in Book Club released in May 2018 as a PG-13 drama/romance film.
Diane (played by Keaton herself) becomes a widow after 40 years of marriage while Vivian (Jane Fonda) enjoys her men with no strings attached. Sharon (Candice Bergen) is still trying to get over her decades-old divorce, and Carol’s (Mary Steenburgen) marriage needs reviving after 35 years. The film follows the lives of these four women as they survive the outrageous life choices a not-so-quintessential book influences them to make.
This film has a special place in my heart because so does Diane Keaton. There aren’t too many actors that still maintain their individuality or even a particular acting style. Props to Diane Keaton! I was introduced to her in The First Wives Club back in 1996 and just fell in love! Granted I was 9 years old, but I knew good stuff when I saw it! LOL
Book Club does a really good job at portraying what the most prototypical book club should include: wine and great friends. I would add a pot of tea for perfection. I think you will thoroughly enjoy this film considering that the acting is performed by professionals that make the characters seamless and it also dispels stigmas of older women, their lives and desires; at the end of it you will have a warm heart, not only for all the women, but also for the love of reading.
#3. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is based on a historical novel by Marry Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows that was published in 2008. The movie was released 10 years later and, I must say, does the book grand justice. The film is about a London-based writer in 1946 who begins exchanging letters with residents of the island of Guernsey which so happened to be German-occupied during WWII. Feeling compelled to visit the island, she begins to piece together the real story of what it was like during the occupation.
There are moments in this film when you feel like you’re part of the book club and you’ll want to express your feelings about certain pieces of literature the characters discuss. Juliet Ashton (played by Downton Abbey’s Lily James) takes you on a fashionable (like, you’ll seriously want all of her clothes) journey to Guernsey and into the personal lives of the book club members who include Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman), Elizabeth Mckenna (another Downton Abbey star, Jessica Brown Findlay), Isola Pribby (Katherine Parkinson), and Amelia Maugery (Penelope Wilton, yet another Downton Abbey cast member).
The movie is absolutely visually stunning, quenches a tea sipping bookworm’s appetite, and it’s based on a book…so like…double points for that!
#4. Ladies Book Club
Ladies Book Club is a film that seems to have been performed first as a play. I am not sure, however, because there’s so little information about this independent film online. The way that the actors perform and the angles of the camera and positioning of the props lead me to believe that this was originally a play. In the play, Bunny (played by Angell Conwell) and Carlyle (played by Lyriq Bent) are simply roommates and have been best friends since college. Despite their attraction to one another, they have managed to keep their friendship strictly platonic. Bunny’s friends, including the outspoken Rona (Elise Neal) along with Bunny’s meddling mother (Jackée Harry) want to see Bunny and Carlyle be more than just friends so they use their Ladies Book Club meetings to spark a love connection.
I like this film for all the wrong reasons actually. Normally, you watch a film because there is great acting and a wonderful story line. The Ladies Book Club, however, didn’t have such great acting and the story line was kind of hodgepodged together. I watched it only because they were reading a book and commenting on it. LOL.
If you like plays then you will probably enjoy the film. I like plays also, but honestly, watching a play on film is very confusing. Perhaps the actors are even better actors than they seemed to be in this play turned film. I will say that Jackée Harry did not disappoint as she is a seasoned actor and really could perform seamlessly regardless. None the less, I think that it’s a cute film that will inspire you to keep reading.
#5. The Bookshop
The Book Shop is one of those films released in modern day but one that also takes you back to a more elegant and simple time. Released in August of 2018 and directed by Isabel Coixet, The Book Shop follows a character named Florence Green (played by Emily Mortimer) who puts her grief behind her and risks everything to open up the very first bookshop in the tranquil seaside town of Hardborough, England. Her innocent venture puts her on the opposing side of Mrs. Gamart (played by Patricia Clarkson), Harborough’s vengeful and embittered alpha female who believes herself to be a doyenne of the local arts scene.
What is more, The Book Shop is based on a novel by Penelope Fitzgerald and the film pays homage to such by including a narration by Julie Christie. I love narrated movies!
Ok, so you need to watch all of the movies on this list but if there’s only one movie you can watch on this list, start with The Book Shop. Interestingly, the literature is not really read aloud in this film but the books are given such a spot-light that you’re allowed to sort of reminisce in your mind about the various pieces. The acting is simple, the shots are simple, the narration is simple and beautiful. Everything about this film screams outstanding, elegant, and classic. I mean, just look at the movie graphic above and tell me if you don’t want to watch the film!