Okay, so I know this is a ‘books and writing’ blog, but I do actually have other hobbies, believe it or not, and watching films is one of them. So I thought why not combine two of my loves and come up with a list of films that will resonate with the writers among us.
The Man Who Invented Christmas
This is actually the film that gave me the idea for this post. I saw it recently (yes I know, I watched a Christmas film in March, don’t judge me) and thought it was an amazing look into the writing process.
The film follows Charles Dickens as he comes up with the idea for, and struggles to write, A Christmas Carol. He ends up being followed around by his characters as he fights to get them to do what they’re told (a fight that writers know all too well), and eventually gets to know them well enough to figure out the best ending for the book.
It’s a great film in general, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone. But for writers especially, knowing that even the greats like Dickens struggled with their characters and stories makes our battles that little bit easier to manage.
Stranger Than Fiction
This is another film that’s great for any audience, but writers can get a lot from it as well.
Will Ferrell plays Harold Crick, an IRS auditor who starts to hear a disembodied voice in his head narrating his life as it happens. When the voice tells of his impending death he tries to figure out how he can stop it.
He eventually finds out that the narrator is a writer (played by Emma Thompson), who is writing the story of his life, and he sets out to convince her to change the ending.
Stranger Than Fiction is an interesting look at the writing process, showing how drafts can change as you write them. You don’t have to worry if the ending of your book isn’t working, it’s okay to change it, it won’t ruin the book.
Also, like The Man Who Invented Christmas, it’s nice to see writers struggling with their characters and know that you’re not alone.
Moulin Rouge is one of my all-time favourite films (the other is Anastasia, in case you’re wondering).
It follows Christian, a writer who arrives in Paris during the Bohemian movement and falls in love with Satine, a courtesan at the Moulin Rouge in Mont Martre. We follow their doomed relationship as Christain writes a play based on their romance, and they dodge the Duke and his advances on Satine.
If you haven’t seen Moulin Rouge make sure you watch it. It’s amazing, spectacular, fantastic, and all the other words that mean you should watch it!
As a writer, this is a great film to see how your own life can affect your work. How you can take inspiration from what’s going on around you to make a masterpiece. Let’s just hope the ending of your story is a bit happier.
Shakespeare In Love
Another film that shows how someone’s real life can inspire their writing, Shakespeare In Love is a fictionalised story of how Romeo and Juliet was written.
William Shakespeare is struggling with writer’s block, but when he meets Viola de Lesseps (disguised as Thomas Kent, an actor), he falls in love and is inspired to write his most famous play.
This is a great story, showing how inspiring a muse can be, and giving us all hope that even if we’re suffering from writer’s block, something will come around the corner to help us write a classic like Romeo and Juliet.
The story of Annie Wilkes and Paul Sheldon acts more as a horror story for writers than an inspirational tale.
After suffering a car accident, writer Paul Sheldon wakes up in the company of his self-proclaimed number one fan, Annie Wilkes. But when she finds out that he’s killing off her favourite characters, things take a turn for the worst. Let’s just say a sledgehammer is involved.
If nothing else, this film is a firm reminder to back up all of your work, so if a crazed fan forces you to burn a manuscript, you still have it backed up in Dropbox.
Have you got any other films you think every writer should see? Let me know in the comments.