Do Books Age Better Than Films?

I’m a fan of old books – I’m sure the fact that I’ve got a comprehensive collection of book reviews on this site (many of which are over a hundred years old) can attest to that. I’m also a fan of old films, which is something I’ve not written about before. Just as I love the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, I also love the film adaptation. I know I’ve written about the weaknesses of the film genre before and I may have been a little too critical, but I do genuinely love many films.

The only thing is, that I am sure books age much better than them. When I watch a film from the 30s or 40s, I will probably enjoy it, but I find it rare that they’ll be really as moving or emotional as a more modern film. I think the reason for this is that acting methods have improved over the last century and this means that actors are now better able to capture the way that people behave within their day to day lives – or could just be that the way people behave in their day to day lives has changed significantly in the last 80 years or so (it’s probably a bit of both).

Meanwhile, when I read a book from, say, 150 years ago, while the language may be a bit different, it can still move me just as much as a modern film – often moreso. The reason that I think this is, is that when reading, you insert yourself into the story much more than you do with a film. Because you have to use your own mind, you fill in the blanks with your own experience of day to day life, whereas in a film, you’re shown exactly the way that everything looks and sounds – making it easier for it to feel more dated. For this reason, I think that books stand the test of time much better than films and it’s just another reason that I love them so much.

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