Books & Reviews

5 Films Every Writer Should Watch

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.

5-films-every-writer-should-watch

The Man Who Invented Christmas

The_Man_Who_Invented_ChristmasThis 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 CarolHe 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

stranger-than-fictionThis 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!

Moulin_rougeMoulin 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

shakespeare-in-loveAnother 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.

Misery

miseryThe 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.

34 thoughts on “5 Films Every Writer Should Watch”

  1. Oh god that last one always terrifies me! I’ve never watched the movie because i cannot unsee the Horror Genre but i’ve read an article about that particular sledgehammer and it is….

    Great list! I do want to see Moulin Rouge so bad and you’ve definitely convinced me to 🙂

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  2. I haven’t seen any of these films except “Stranger Than Fiction,” which I thought was okay. It didn’t really stick with me, I’m not a fan of Will Ferrell. I want to watch “Misery” but I think I should read the novel first, I try to do that whenever I can. Great list! 🙂

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    1. I liked the fact that Will Ferrell wasn’t being too Will Ferrell-y in ‘Stranger Than Fiction’. It was a different role for him. I’m not a huge fan of his comedy either to be honest. And yeah, always read the book first, no matter what haha! 😀

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  3. I would add The Help to your list. True, Skeeter is writing a collective memoir and not a novel, but the struggles she experiences and the lessons she learns resonated with me as a writer.

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    1. That’s a film I haven’t seen yet but it’s definitely on my list. I want to read the book furst though. I didn’t realise there was a writing aspect to it so I might have to bump it up on the list a bit!

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  4. You forgot Seven Psychopaths, even though it’s about screenwriters. But it gives us the cardinal rule that it’s okay to kill women (and men) in a story, but it’s never ok to kill dogs 😂

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  5. Trumbo with Brian Cranston. Fantastic movie! It hits the highs and lows of the writing for Hollywood business, especially in the 1940s when communism was a hot topic.

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  6. Yes! Misery is the best scary thriller ever! To capture a Castle is a wonderful book written by Doddie Smith (of1001 dalmation fame) and the film was as good with Bill Nighy. You must add it to your list.

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  7. Adaptation with Nick Cage and Meryl Streep is also a great movie to watch about the struggles writers go through to gain inspiration.

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  8. Misery has me wanting to create a fan fiction version, based on my issues with a (now dead) author who maligned her character. If I could exact a sort of vendictive revenge on Agatha Christie (out of ANTI-fandom rather than psychotic mood swing crazy) , it would give Stephen King NIGHTMARES.

    The Man who Invented Christmas! I HAVE to get that movie!!!! Thanks for reminding me. A Christmas Carol put Charles Dickens on the map and, to date, has been adapted …God alone knows how many times. I’ve seen a few in recent years that are underrated gems. Ebby, with Susan Lucci, Mrs. Scrooge with Cicely Tyson, American Christmas Carol with Henry Winkler. I saw an interview with Henry Winkler, where he said that he RAN from the project when it was initially offered to him because he just didn’t feel like he was equal to such a huge role, reputation wise. He pulled it off.

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  9. Hot Fuzz is also very interesting in showing foreboding (“for the greater good” and lots of others), travelling (the main characters journey from London to Sandford), how to begin a story (with a description of the main character that is NOT boring AT ALL), etc etc….
    Well worth to watch a few times to get all the details

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