5 Blockbuster Movies on The Lives of Famous Writers
We cannot deny the power of cinema in capturing the feeling of having to struggle on one’s desk with a pen and paper. Earlier, it was only possible to get a glimpse into the life of a writer through historical accounts or personal biographies. However, over time, filmmakers have managed to portray the zeal and struggle of a writer’s life masterfully on screen. These films have a mass appeal due to their ability to depict the intricacies of the events of a writer’s life in motion. While there is no limit to the number of films you can watch in this genre, we’ve handpicked a few of the best ones. So, grab a bowl of popcorn and choose your next movie from the list below. Or, if you’re a movie buff like us, you can binge-watch all of them!
- Bright Star (2009)
Bright Star sheds light on the last three years of the life of British Romantic poet John Keats. It also offers an intimate glimpse into his love affair with his muse Fanny Brawne. In this way, the film works both as a piece of biographical fiction and as a love story. It pays tribute to a writer who went to his grave believing he was a failure, while his posthumous legacy has cemented him as one of the greatest Romantic poets. Starring Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish, the movie is a melancholic, yet memorable account of Keats’ painfully short life.
- The Hours (2002)
The Hours, based on the life of British Modernist writer Virginia Woolf, is an impactful psychological drama. It explores the life of the writer through the lens of her 1925 novel Mrs Dalloway. The film, taking place within the span of a single day, focuses on the lived reality of two women, played by Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep. Both live out their own realities with semblance to Mrs Dalloway. The movie was received favourably for tackling dark themes including mental illness and suicide with skill. Nicole Kidman’s performance as Woolf (aided by a prosthetic nose) won her the Academy Award for Best Actress.
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- Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Shakespeare in Love is a period piece about the most famous playwright in history. In 1593, William Shakespeare was a player in the theatre of Lord Chamberlain’s Men and a struggling playwright for Philip Henslowe, the owner of The Rose Theatre. The film gives us a detailed view of his struggles as a writer, depicting how he fell into writer’s block and overcame crippling debt. The film also details his love affair with a young woman that eventually reignites his creative abilities. While the story may be partly fictional, it nevertheless captures the enigmatic life of this literary great.
- Wilde (1997)
Everyone remembers Oscar Wilde as an Irish literary icon. His illustrious and controversial life has remained a subject of interest to date. In the film Wilde, Stephen Fry carries the late writer’s characteristic flamboyant mannerisms and whip-smart wit with ease. The film also skillfully brings forth Wilde’s vulnerability, creating a dynamic portrait of a brilliant mind. Furthermore, it doesn’t shy away from depicting the British government’s brutal treatment of Wilde once his homosexuality was exposed. Wilde’s affair with Lord Alfred Douglas (Jude Law) alone subjects him to two years of hard labour in prison. By focusing on one specific portion of Wilde’s life, Wilde shows us a side not detailed in literature textbooks.
- Capote (2005)
Truman Capote’s 1966 nonfiction book In Cold Blood remains a hallmark of the true-crime genre. The story behind its writing and publication is just as intriguing. The movie follows the infamous writer’s mission to craft a novel around the widely-known murder of the Clutter family. With help from his childhood friend Nelle Harper Lee, he gains first-hand insight from the murder suspects. The writer also forms an emotional attachment to one of them- a man named Perry. As the fateful events unfold, Capote finds himself inexplicably fascinated with the murderer. The ordeal takes its toll on the writer, who will never be the same again. In the film, Capote is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose sensational performance won him the Oscar for Best Actor.
The lives of writers not only make for inspiring reads but are also impactful subjects for films. They offer a glimpse into the unconventional experiences of these timeless literary virtuosos. As you begin your fulfilling journey into their lives, we hope these films will inspire you to follow your passion and become a great writer someday.
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