F/F Books turned into Movies and TV Shows

I’ve been interested in doing a post about F/F books who were adapted into movies or TV shows for a while now and this research proved to be harder than I thought. The only useful article I found was a post by Autostraddle from two years ago. But mostly, my own post was prompted by the fact that we have four new adaptations coming out in 2018 and I suddenly felt excited about it! So I thought I’d make this list with all links included to help the avid readers who like to watch and read both formats of stories.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to watch all of these and can’t tell you which ones end happily or not. But I hope to add most of them to my watch list soon. I’m leaving them in the order of which movie came out first so you can take a look at the history of F/F adaptations in these last years.

What about you? Leave in the comments if you have watched or read any of these stories! What books do you want to see turned into movies next? I’d love to see more YA books and romcoms in the big screen that aren’t so rooted in drama and tragedy, personally.

 

Book:

Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule (1964)

Set in the late 1950s, this is the story of Evelyn Hall, an English professor, who goes to Reno to obtain a divorce and put an end to her disastrous 16-year marriage. While staying at a boarding house to establish her six-week residency requirement she meets Ann Childs, a casino worker and fifteen years her junior. Physically, they are remarkably alike and eventually have an affair and begin the struggle to figure out just how a relationship between two women can last. Desert of the Heart examines the conflict between convention and freedom and the ways in which the characters try to resolve the conflict.

Movie:

Desert Hearts (1985) || Trailer

A woman on the precipice of divorce becomes drawn to a ranchowner’s daughter.

 

 

Book:

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

Movie:

The Color Purple (1985) || Trailer

A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

 

 

Book:

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (1985)

Jeanette, the protagonist of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and the author’s namesake, has issues–“unnatural” ones: her adopted mam thinks she’s the Chosen one from God; she’s beginning to fancy girls; and an orange demon keeps popping into her psyche. Already Jeanette Winterson’s semi-autobiographical first novel is not your typical coming-of-age tale.

Brought up in a working-class Pentecostal family, up North, Jeanette follows the path her Mam has set for her. This involves Bible quizzes, a stint as a tambourine-playing Sally Army officer and a future as a missionary in Africa, or some other “heathen state”. When Jeanette starts going to school and confides in her mother about her feelings for another girl, she’s swept up in a feverish frenzy for her tainted soul. Confused, angry and alone, Jeanette strikes out on her own path, that involves a funeral parlour and an ice-cream van. Mixed in with the so-called reality of Jeanette’s existence growing up are unconventional fairy tales that transcend the everyday world, subverting the traditional preconceptions of the damsel in distress.

TV Miniseries:

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (1989)

Jessica’s extraordinarily strong will and heart enables her to rebel against her fanatical, cult-like upbringing. From seven to seventeen Jess is brainwashed to be one of the ‘saved’, to devote her life to Jesus, to follow the discriminatory teachings of Pastor Finch and his understanding of Revelations. As her warm personality dictates she succeeds in fitting into this regime and spreads the word of Jesus in a fairly content manner. But when her friendship with Melanie develops into something a little more ‘unnatural’ she easily realizes the error of the Pastors teachings. The girls are subjected to terrible treatment to convince them to repent.

 

 

Book:

Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (1987)

Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is the now-classic novel of two women in the 1980s; of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women–of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth–who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present–for Evelyn and for us–will never be quite the same again…

Movie:

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) || Trailer

A housewife who is unhappy with her life befriends an old lady in a nursing home and is enthralled by the tales she tells of people she used to know.

 

 

Book:

Aimée & Jaguar: A Love Story, Berlin 1943 by Erica Fischer (1994)

Unique, moving, and true – this radiant love story is set against the horrific backdrop of World War II Nazi Germany. When Lilly “Aimee” Wust, a gentile mother of four and wife of a Nazi officer, met Felice “Jaguar” Schragenheim, a Jew living underground in Berlin, neither could have guessed that their brief initial encounter would develop into a blazing, devoted love. As the Nazi stranglehold closed in on them, Lilly and Felice found themselves fighting insurmountable odds to stay together. Extraordinarily passionate and heartrending, this is a rare and personal look at the love and strength of two women whose commitment to each other defied the brutality of their time.

Movie:

Aimée & Jaguar (1999) || Trailer

In 1943 Berlin, a Nazi officer’s wife meets and starts a passionate affair with a Jewish woman.

 

 

Book:

The Hours by Michael Cunningham (1998)

In 1920s London, Virginia Woolf is fighting against her rebellious spirit as she attempts to make a start on her new novel. A young wife and mother, broiling in a suburb of 1940s Los Angeles, yearns to escape and read her precious copy of Mrs Dalloway. And Clarissa Vaughan steps out of her smart Greenwich village apartment in 1990s New York to buy flowers for a party she is hosting for a dying friend.

The Hours recasts the classic story of Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway in a startling new light. Moving effortlessly across the decades and between England and America, this exquisite novel intertwines the worlds of three unforgettable women.

Movie:

The Hours (2002) || Trailer

The story of how the novel “Mrs. Dalloway” affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.

 

 

Book:

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (1998)

Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty’s dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.

TV Miniseries:

Tipping the Velvet (2002) || Trailer

Set in the 1890’s, tells the lesbian love affair between male impersonator music hall star Kitty Butler and Nan Astley.

 

 

Book:

The World Unseen by Shamim Sarif (2001)

Miriam is the traditional young Indian mother, hardworking and self-effacing. When she meets the rebellious Amina who confounds the Indian community by driving a taxi and setting up a cafe with a black man, her world is turned upside down.

The World Unseen (2007) || Trailer

A drama centered on two women who engage in a dangerous relationship during South Africa’s apartheid era.

 

 

Book:

I Can’t Think Straight by Shamim Sarif (2008)

Tala, a London-based Palestinian, is preparing for her elaborate Middle Eastern wedding when she meets Leyla, a young British Indian woman who is dating her best friend.

Spirited Christian Tala and shy Muslim Leyla could not be more different from each other, but the attraction is immediate and goes deeper than friendship. As Tala’s wedding day approaches, simmering tensions come to boiling point and the pressure mounts for Tala to be true to herself.

Moving between the vast enclaves of Middle Eastern high society and the stunning backdrop of London’s West End, I Can’t Think Straight explores the clashes between East and West, love and marriage, conventions and individuality, creating a humorous and tender story of unexpected love and unusual freedoms.

Movie:

I Can’t Think Straight (2008) || Trailer

A young woman engaged to be married finds her life changed forever when she meets her best friend’s girlfriend.

 

 

Book:

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister by Anne Lister, edited by Helena Whitbread (2010)

Anne Lister defied the role of womanhood seen in the novels of Jane Austen: she was bold, fiercely independent, a landowner, industrialist, traveler, and a lesbian. She kept extensive diaries of her life and loves, written partly in code. Made up of Greek letters mingled with other symbols of her own devising, Anne referred to the code as her “crypthand,” and the use of it allowed her the freedom to describe her intimate life in great detail. Her diaries have been edited by Helena Whitbread, who spent years decoding and transcribing them.

TV Movie:

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010) || Trailer

A look at the life of 19th century Yorkshire landowner Anne Lister (1791-1840), who lived openly as a lesbian and kept diaries chronicling the details of her daily life.

 

 

Book:

Farewell, my Queen by Chantal Thomas (2002)

It was once the job of Madame Agathe-Sidonie Laborde to read books aloud to Marie-Antoinette. Now exiled in Vienna, she looks back twenty-one years to the legendary opulence of Versailles and meticulously reconstructs July 14, 15, and 16 of 1789.

When Agathe-Sidonie is summoned to the Queen’s side on the morning of the 14th, Versailles is a miniature universe, sparkling with every outward appearance of happiness and power, peopled with nobles of minutely calibrated rank, and run according to a hundred-year-old ritual called the Perfect Day. But with the shocking news that someone has woken the King in the night, order begins to disintegrate and word of the fall of the Bastille seeps into court. Soon Versailles’s beauty is nothing more than a shell encasing rising panic and chaos. Agathe-Sidonie watches as the Queen’s attempts to flee are aborted; her most intimate friend betrays her; and the King, appearing to sleepwalk through this crisis, never alters his routine of visiting the Apollo Salon several times a day to consult a giant crystal thermometer.

From the tiniest garret to the Hall of Mirrors, where Marie-Antoinette stands alone and terrified in the dark, Chantal Thomas shows us a world on the edge of oblivion and an intimate portrait of the woman who, like “fire in motion,” was its center.

Movie:

Farewell, My Queen (2012) || Trailer

A look at the relationship between Marie Antoinette and one of her readers during the first days of the French Revolution.

 

 

Graphic Novel:

Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh (2010)

Blue is the Warmest Color is a graphic novel about growing up, falling in love, and coming out. Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.

Movie:

Blue is the Warmest Color (2013) || Trailer

Adèle’s life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire and to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adèle grows, seeks herself, loses herself, and ultimately finds herself through love and loss.

 

 

Book:

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (1952)

Based on a true story plucked from Highsmith’s own life, Carol tells the riveting drama of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by a gorgeous epiphany—the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy. Therese begins to gravitate toward the alluring suburban housewife, who is trapped in a marriage as stultifying as Therese’s job. They fall in love and set out across the United States, ensnared by society’s confines and the imminent disapproval of others, yet propelled by their infatuation. Carol is a brilliantly written story that may surprise Highsmith fans and will delight those discovering her work.

Movie:

Carol (2015) || Trailer

An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman in 1950s New York.

 

 

Book:

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (2002)

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a “baby farmer,” who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of—passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.

With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways…But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.

TV Miniseries:

Fingersmith (2005) || Trailer

In Victorian England, Sue, a young thief, participates in a scam to defraud a rich heiress by becoming her maid. Things take an unexpected turn and Sue’s plan goes horribly wrong.

Movie:

The Handmaiden (2016) || Trailer

A woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.

 

 

Book:

Disobedience by Naomi Alderman (2006)

A small, close-knit Orthodox Jewish community in London is the setting for a revealing look at religion and sexuality in Alderman’s frank yet heartfelt debut novel, Disobedience. The story begins with the death of the community’s esteemed rabbi, which sets in motion plans for a memorial service and the search for a replacement. The rabbi’s nephew and likely successor, Dovid, calls his cousin Ronit in New York to tell her that her father has died. Ronit, who left the community long ago to build a life for herself as a career woman, returns home when she hears the news, and her reappearance exposes tears in the fabric of the community.

Steeped in Jewish philosophy and teachings, Disobedience is a perceptive and thoughtful exploration of the laws and practices that have governed Judaism for centuries, and continue to hold sway today. Throughout the novel, Alderman retells stories from the Torah — Judaism’s fundamental source — and the interplay between these tales and the struggles of the novel’s unique characters wields enormous power and wisdom, and will surely move readers to tears.

Movie:

Disobedience (2017) || Trailer

A woman returns to the community that shunned her for her attraction to a childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.

 

 

Book:

Tell it To The Bees by Fiona Shaw (2009)

Lydia Weekes is a beautiful young woman, although she hardly knows it. Her volatile ex-soldier husband ignores her & then he is gone completely, leaving her to support her son Charlie on her own. A secretive & perceptive schoolboy, Charlie is increasingly left to his own devices – until he befriends the town’s new female GP.

Movie:

Tell it to the Bees (2018)

In 1950s small-town Britain, a doctor develops an intimate relationship with her young patient’s mother.

 

 

Short Story:

Jambula Tree and Other stories (2009)

The Caine Prize for African Writing is Africa’s leading literary prize and is awarded to a short story by an African writer published in English, whether in Africa or elsewhere. Each year, the full shortlist and twelve other stories are collected and published in one volume.

This year’s winner is Monica Arac de Nyeko for Jambula Tree, described as “a witty and touching portrait of a community which is affected forever by a love which blossoms between two adolescents.”

Movie:

Rafiki (2018) || Trailer

“Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives,” but Kena and Ziki long for something more. When love blossoms between them, the two girls will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.

 

 

Book:

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (2012)

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship — one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to ‘fix’ her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self — even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.

Movie:

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)

In 1993, a teenage girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy center by her conservative guardians.

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