Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Movies About Writers

I have been a lawyer, and am currently a mother of thirteen years standing, but rarely do I enjoy watching movies about lawyers or parenting as much as I adore movies about writers.

(OK, A Few Good Men and Parenthood are exceptions to this rule, but that could have more to do with my Keanu Reeves and Jack Nicholson fixations than anything else!)

I don't know why this is so. Maybe it's because the creative writing life is such an odd beast, and us writers have such interesting quirks (or so we like to think), that these movies hold such an appeal. Whatever the case, I've been on a bit of a writing movie glom of late, and thought I'd share some of my favourites with you.

Tamara Drewe

This is a great little film that I only recently caught. It's essentially a romantic comedy, and to be honest, I found the main character of Tamara to be a tad annoying, but this is more than compensated for by the subplot of a writers' retreat in the English countryside, and the eclectic bunch of writers who attend it - the academic who's suffering the constipation of writers block, the best selling author with an ego the size of Kentucky, his long suffering wife/literary assistant ... and when the conversations turned to the old chestnut of commercial vs literary fiction, I had a good old giggle. Well worth a watch.

Paris When It Sizzles

Ah, what's not to love about this movie? The gorgeous Audrey Hepburn plays the sassy assistant to William Holden's screenwriter marooned in Paris with a chronic case of writer's block. There's much witty repartee between the pair, especially once Hepburn starts to help Holden overcome his writer's block by acting out his fantasies of possible plots. Sure, it's a bit of a cheesy romp, but I do adore this film.

The Shining

OK, it's horror, but honestly, who amongst us cannot, in some tiny way, relate to Nicholson's slow psychological unravelling, culminating in sheet after sheet of "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"?

Hmm. Thought so.

So, how about you? Do you enjoy watching films about writers and the writing life? Which ones tickle your fancy?


  1. I watched one just yesterday (for the fourth time). It's sweet, clever, funny and squeaky clean. My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, with Christopher Gorham and Alyssa Milano.

  2. It's true - there really aren't that many movies about authors. I seem to recall one, about a guy, struggling, getting distracted, and then the characters coming to life. It was from a couple of years ago. Curse you, feeble memory!

    1. There was one where Johnny Depp played a writer, I think, who was taken hostage by a reader? Was it Depp playing the writer in that one? I never saw it. Too creepily close to home I think!

  3. Then there's Little Women.
    Inkheart (which is more about the book than the author but the author is in it. This movie has one of my all time favorite scenes, when the author sees one of his characters come to life for the first time, complete with his own free will).
    There's a movie about Virginia Wolfe I've never seen, The Hours.
    And the first movie about writers I ever saw, Funny Farm, with Chevy Chase.
    Check out this list of 20 movies about writers, most of which I've never seen:

  4. @ Lori - oh, great suggestions, and a great list, too! I completely forgot about Adaptation. Nicholas Cage is brilliant in that movie, all about a screenwriter struggling to adapt a novel to a movie script while fighting writers block, and the slap in the face that is his less talented brother whose cliche-ridden script sells for mega-bucks. Must watch it again, soon!

  5. The high art of film has captured the brilliant moments of literary minds and their processes in countless adaptations of the lives of our favorite authors. You can read my own Top 20 Greatest Movies of All Time about Writers at