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Member Lists

Movies About Writers
List creator: GreenCineStaff
Created on: March 17, 2006 - 10:04 AM PST
Description: Some of the best films about writers, although very few get the writer's life exactly write, er, right. Writers, we're a mopey, lonely lot according to most films. (Well, that part's accurate.)

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Barton Fink (1991)
  Surreal black comedy that really gets inside a writer's head (and other's heads). Hollywood never looked so disturbing.
Naked Lunch (Criterion Collection) (1991)
  Burroughs has looked more disturbing than this, but Cronenberg's vision is brilliant here.
Capote (2005)
  One of the best of '05, with Oscar-winning Hoffman magesterial at the center. Also one of the few movies to really get the pains of writing (and not writing) so right.
The Squid and the Whale (2005)
  Can two self-absorbed novelists survive as a couple, and make good parents? Not really, but this superbly scripted film sure makes it fun to watch. Great performances all around. The Biblically bearded Jeff Daniels should have been nominated for an Oscar
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Not Rated
  William Holden plays a screenwriter who gets mixed up with a fading silent movie star looking for a new close-up. Don't try this at home.
Wonder Boys (2000)
  Fine adaptation of Michael Chabon's terrific novel about a blocked novelist and college professor. If you're a writer, you'll cringe at the fate of his manuscript.
Deconstructing Harry (1997)
  The best part of Woody Allen's film is the hilarious short vignettes that reflect his darkly funny short stories. He plays an unlikeable writer who alienates everyone by writing about them.
Henry Fool (1997)
Quills (2000)
  Appropriately dark and creepy, and very witty, with Geoffrey Rush making a spot-on Marquis de Sade. Not perfect but worth seeing.
Adaptation (2002)
  Before basically collapsing under the weight of its own self-indulgence, this one nails the torture of screenwriting about as well as any film; all while also capturing much of the beauty of The Orchid Thief in the film within the film. It's a Chinese box of a movie, and often brilliant, and maddening.
The Lost Weekend (1945)
Not Rated
How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog (2000)
  A bit of a sleeper, this one stars Kenneth Branagh as a writer struggling with his craft and his own messy life. Uneven but worth a look.
Before Night Falls (2000)
  Beautifully acted by Javier Bardem/
An Angel at My Table (Criterion Collection) (1990)
  Poet Janet Frame's tragic life is brought expressively to the screen, thanks to Jane Campion and actress Kerry Fox (sporting the writer's famous mop of red hair).
Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life... and Other Strange Tales (1993)
Not Rated
  wonderful short film by actor-turned-director Peter Capaldi that was an Oscar-winner a few years back, stars the always terrific Richard E Grant as the moody titular writer.
My Left Foot (1989)
  Daniel Day Lewis is unforgettable (and won an Oscar) as Christy Brown, the cerebral palsy-stricken writer with a lot of fight in him. Never patronizing or sentimental, it's a mesmerizing character study.
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Criterion) (1985)
  Underrated, fascinating biopic of the celebrated Japanese writer, who had many sides to him; ultimately, sadly, the dark one won out.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  You can tell which parts of this script Tom Stoppard wrote, the playful, witty bits; the whole story's a delight, if not completely Shakespearean.
Swimming Pool (2003)
  This movie's cleverness doesn't fully reveal itself until the very end, but it's lovely to look at and fascinating before then - with Rampling's mystery writer up to more than you first think.
Sideways (2004)
  Pain(payne)ful and painfully funny. It's a misanthropic life for a writer (and teacher). Just ask Rex Pickett, whose story this is based upon.
The Singing Detective (Disc 1 of 3) (1986)
Not Rated
  Only one of the best pieces of writing about a writer, for TV or anywhere, ever. Michael Gambon is heartbreakingly good as the afflicted (and appropriately named) Philip Marlowe.
I Capture the Castle (2003)
  The perpetually underrated Bill Nighy is perfect as the struggling novelist and manic depressive patriarch of an eccentric British family.
Bukowski: Born Into This (2002)
Reprise (2006)
  One of the better recent films about young writers, which also takes some shots at the fleeting nature of fame and muses on what it means to become "successful." Both funny and very touching.

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