Friday, April 8, 2011

The 10 Best Writer's Movies (a List in Progress)

I’m in the early stages of an article on The 10 Best “Writer’s” Movies. The idea occurred (and it’s, by no stretch, an original one) as I was recently re-watching Barton Fink, an early Coen brothers film about an intellectual, idealistic New York playwright who comes to California to write a low-Q wrestling pic. It’s darkly comedic and often surreal. Anyway, I started reflecting on how many of my favorite films involve writers and the craft of writing, and realized there’s a lot.

By “writer’s movies”, I’m not referring to a well-written screenplay — though, no doubt, a well-written screenplay is a joy for writers. Neither am I thinking simply of movies with a writer character in them, like Field of Dreams or Misery. Rather, the "writer's movies" I'm thinking of depict the creative processes involved and the quirky nature of the artists in question. They capture the angst, the transcendence, the bursts of creativity, the loneliness, the oddball celebrity, and the struggles of being a writer.

Below is a random list of the films I’m mulling. Some of them I have not seen (denoted by a *), but they’ve been duly noted and placed in my Netflix Queue.

  • Barton Fink
  • Naked Lunch
  • Atonement
  • Wonder Boys *
  • Finding Neverland
  • Capote
  • The Squid and the Whale *
  • My Left Foot
  • Stranger than Fiction
  • Adaptation
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Deconstructing Harry *
  • Sideways
  • The Singing Detective *

So that’s my working list, and I clearly have a few faves. What about you? Any writer’s movies that you think capture the essence, the mystery, the struggle, the possibilities, and the joy of the writing life?


Greg Mitchell said...

I think "The Dark Half" might fit your requirements, though you might lump it in with "Misery"--a movie about a writer rather than a writer movie. Though, to me, the most powerful depiction of a writer came from the old TV show "The Ray Bradbury Theater". The story was "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone". I watched that very recently and, man, that thing moved me. I was near tears by the end of it because it hit SOOOO close to home as a writer. If you've not seen it, you can watch it off of YouTube. Here's part one:

Jillian Kent said...

Alex and Emma comes to mind.

DebMoss said...

While it's not strictly about writers as authors, I really like the movie "Ghost Writer" with Pierce Brosnan.