Fave Movies About Writers

As I write this, we’re hours away from the Oscars. The excitement around my house is palpable–by which I mean I’m breathlessly counting down the minutes until showtime and no one else gives a hoot. They had their Super Bowl last week, so they’re good. Anyway, by the time you read this, we’ll know who walked away with statues. Hope the films and nominees you were cheering for won!

Tying into the movie theme, the following list honors some favorite films about writing/writers (in no particular order):

  • Stranger Than Fiction: Emma Thompson as the author working through writer’s block and being inspired by something unexpected gets me every time. And Dustin Hoffman’s professorial character analyzing stories and drinking a thousand cups of coffee speaks to me in more ways than one. Plus: Will Farrell, Queen Latifah, and Maggie Gyllenhaal–enough said.
  • Mother: Albert Brooks plays a writer returning to his childhood home to jump-start his writing, only to find himself trapped in old family dynamics with his mother, played by Debbie Reynolds, and brother. Gleefully awkward in the best possible way.
  • Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle: Dorothy Parker and friends are brought to glorious life by a group of talented actors including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Campbell Scott, and Matthew Broderick, and it’s amazing all around.
  • Shakespeare in Love: Exactly what the title promises: a clever imagining of Shakespeare in love. Gwenyth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes deliver.
  • Misery: The wonderful Kathy Bates plays a fan trying to force James Caan’s character to write the book she wants to read and, well, it gets unhinged and nasty.
  • Wonder Boys: Set on a college campus and explores literary pretensions with a lovingly satirical eye. Be still my heart.
  • The Big Picture: Stars Kevin Bacon as a promising film school grad who quickly realizes how many hoops he’ll have to jump through in order to get his movie made. The way that the script and premise change throughout the piece is both funny and thought-provoking. And Martin Short plays his agent, so there’s that.
  • Adaptation: How to explain? I guess I’ll just say it’s twisty and brilliant; super meta and super fabulous. Also: hello, magnificent Meryl Streep!
  • Julie and Julia: The fantastic Amy Adams plays Julie Powell, a writer blogging her way through the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Meryl Streep is unforgettable as Julia Child. It is *chef’s kiss* divine.
  • The Devil Wears Prada: Andy, played by a charming Anne Hathaway, takes a job at a fashion magazine as a stepping stone toward her dream of writing serious pieces someday. Seen it a hundred times, may watch it a hundred more. Funny and heartwarming. This too has Meryl–as well as the delightful Emily Blunt–bringing the fabulous.

Please tell me your favorite movies about writers below! Or let us know how you felt about the Academy Award winners!

21 thoughts on “Fave Movies About Writers

  1. What a fab list, Cynthia! I want to throw out a mention for Sideways. While it may be more about the wine, I’ve always appreciated that Paul Giamatti’s character was a writer struggling to get his first book published. Something so relateable!

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  2. Can You Forgive Me? Melissa McCarthy was brilliant as the desperate Lee Israel who forges celebrity letters after her writing career goes flat. Speaking of which, maybe I should come up with a Plan B.

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  3. Wow–there are quite a few on that list that I’ve never seen! Much check Netflix and catch up on them. I love Mother; Debbie Reynolds was fabulous in that! (And Albert Brooks is always terrific.) Just watched The End of the Tour, about a Rolling Stone journalist following David Foster Wallace around on a book tour–Jason Segel was wonderful as DFW, but I found the Jesse Eisenberg character annoying.

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  4. Wow, you’ve seen a lot of movies about writers! I’ve only seen three on this list. But I can easily tell you my favorite: Shakespeare in Love. I adored that movie. I need to see it again!

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  5. Strangely I would never have thought of the Devil Wears Prada as a film about a writer but I guess it really is! Also I absolutely must watch Stranger than Fiction – anything with Emma Thompson in has to be great!

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  6. LOVE your list, Cynthia! I’m a huge fan of writer movies, too, and it’s so nice that they’re always coming out with new ones–but it’s hard to keep up! So thanks for the suggestions cuz I missed a few of these. My recent finds are Mary Shelley (came out in 2017 but I just saw it), The Man Who Invented Christmas (did you see this one about Dickens? soooo fun!), and perhaps my favorite of all, Becoming Jane (as a Janeite, I was worried about Keira Knightley in the role of Austen, but I thought the film was delightful in any case). Thanks for sharing *your* faves!

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    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! Just seeing this now–so sorry for the delay! But those are ALL such great adds! (The perspective from Dickens on character development is gold.)


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