Netflix made chess sexy again with its limited series The Queen’s Gambit. With Anya Taylor-Joy as orphan turned chess prodigy Beth Harmon, writer director Scott Frank created a cinematic portrayal of the mind of a chess genius through substance abuse, struggles with mental health and even the Cold War. But Walter Tevis wrote the novel in a simple, unadorned style that’s a far cry from the stylish and sexy version of the story that wound up in your Netflix queue. So with no restraint on spoilers, it’s time to ask, what’s the difference?
While Anya Taylor-Joy is a more glamorous version of Beth Harmon in the Golden Globe winning awards season darling, the story follows a lot of the same beats. Following her from orphan and prodigy to eventual chess master and world champion, Thomas Brodie-Sangster of Game of Thrones and Harry Melling from the Harry Potter franchise play more complicated versions of their book counterparts. But many of the changes, while seemingly small, have sneaky wide-ranging implications on the Beth’s journey from learning the game from the janitor at an orphanage, to developing an addiction to pills and ultimately her victory over a Russian Grand Master. It’s an interesting and sometimes frustrating collection of changes!
For more What’s the Difference, be sure to subscribe to IGN Movies & TV, but in the meantime if mid-century adaptations from the ’50s and ’60s are your thing, CineFix has more for you!
Stanley Kubrick adapted a dramatic nuclear age cautionary tale into one of the all time great satires with Dr. Strangelove – https://youtu.be/8XZyjp8uTJk
See how a Stephen King short story became an instant classic in The Shawshank Redemption – https://youtu.be/5f1bH-Jguco
See how Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg pulled off an impossible adaptation with the all time great live action animation hybrid Who Framed Roger Rabbit – https://youtu.be/UAYqK15hlbI
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