3 movies every writer should see

8 Feb

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! If your sweetheart is a fellow writer and you’re planning a movie night for Thursday (or, like me, you are celebrating Singles Awareness Day and need verification that you are not alone in the world), try one of these three writerly movies (okay, only one is technically a romance, but work with me here).



What it’s about:

A bookbinder with the power to make literature come alive by reading aloud must dodge the villain he let out of a fantasy novel, while trying to rescue his wife, who’s been trapped in the same book.

Why it’s a must-see:

  1. Favorite pieces of literature stumbling into the real world
  2. Author-meets-characters scenes
  3. It’s a decent adaptation of the book (I highly recommend reading the whole trilogy, which is a more mature, in-depth exploration of the concept)

Meggie: You’ve been to Persia, then? 
Elinor: Yes, a hundred times. Along with St. Petersburg, Paris, Middle-Earth, distant planets and Shangri-la. And I never had to leave this room. Books are adventure. They contain murder and mayhem and passion. They love anyone who opens them. 


Midnight in Paris

What it’s about:

A hack Hollywood screenwriter aspiring to be a novelist is vacationing in modern-day Paris when he stumbles through a time rift and ends up partying with the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and T.S. Elliot.

Why it’s a must-see:

  1. Who hasn’t dreamed about talking life and literature with their favorite authors?
  2. Owen Wilson is adorable
  3. Quotes like this:

Gil: I would like you to read my novel and get your opinion. 
Ernest Hemingway: I hate it. 
Gil: You haven’t even read it yet. 
Ernest Hemingway: If it’s bad, I’ll hate it. If it’s good, then I’ll be envious and hate it even more. You don’t want the opinion of another writer. 


Stranger Than Fiction

What it’s about:

An author struggles to think of the most poetic way to kill off her main character, unaware that the character can hear her narrating his life and is doing everything he can to avoid his imminent death.

Why it’s a must-see:

  1. More author-meets-character type stuff
  2. It explores the remorse a writer feels from killing off beloved characters
  3. It questions the value of tragic endings versus happy ones
  4. Dustin Hoffman is hilarious as the rather indifferent literature professor who advises Harold:

Professor Hilbert: Little did he know. That means there’s something he doesn’t know, which means there’s something you don’t know, did you know that?


What’s your favorite writing-related movie? Tell me in the comments!


22 Responses to “3 movies every writer should see”

  1. lovethebadguy February 9, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    Stranger Than Fiction was fantastic! But I’ve not seen the other two. Add to the list…

    Not at all a “Valentiney” movie, but I loved Capote, which is a biography following Truman Capote’s experiences in writing “In Cold Blood”. Just as dark and intriguing as the book itself.

    • Stephanie Orges February 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation! Inkheart and Midnight in Paris aren’t really Valentiney either, though Midnight has some romance. Actually, my official Valentine’s movie is The Lakehouse, but it’s not about writers (unless you count letter-writing).

  2. Nuttyknitwit February 9, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    My fave literature related movie is Possession starring Gwyneth Paltrow. It is about 2 researchers exploring the possibility that the poets they study had a relationship through newly discovered letters. The movie bounces between the past and the present as the researchers follow the poets’ trails.

  3. Trinity Rivers February 9, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    I thoroughly enjoyed.Midnight in Paris. The other 2 are on my to watch list now. Thank you for mentioning these movies :)

    • Stephanie Orges February 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      Anytime! Stranger Than Fiction’s probably more along the same vein as Midnight, while Inkheart is more of a kids movie (but still good).

  4. pattisj February 9, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Thanks for sharing these movies, Stephanie. I need to start a “to watch” list!

    • Stephanie Orges February 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      You’re welcome! I find my Netflix queue very useful for creating “to watch” lists. : )

  5. creativityorcrazy February 9, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    Thanks for sharing. I’ll have to try the last two. I’ve watched Inkheart and absolutely love it. Watched it several times, in fact.

    • Stephanie Orges February 9, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      You should read the books, too, if you haven’t already!

  6. Mayumi-H February 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    Nice list!

    “Midnight in Paris” is an odd one – I didn’t like any of the “main” characters, but I loved seeing all those authors portrayed. Corey Stoll actually made me (sort of) like Hemingway, Allison Pill was adorable as Zelda Fitzgerald, and Adrien Brody’s Dali was hilarious!

  7. rlherb February 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    I’ve seen all but inkheart, I agree they are very good.

    Two recent movies that are about authors that I liked were.

    “Ruby Sparks” where a painfully introverted and emotionally fragile writer creates a girlfriend in a book who comes to life.

    “Leave” is the other one and it is also with a writer as the main character, I’ll not spoil it but there are twists and turns, and a surprising end, very clever. But sad.

    Both cover the fictionalized writing process, both are very good.


    • Stephanie Orges February 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

      Those both sound good! Thanks for warning about the sad one, though. : )

  8. amberdover February 10, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Single’s Awareness Day….I like that lol :)

  9. Vikki Thompson February 11, 2013 at 1:52 am #

    Thanks honey, will be adding these to my LoveFilm list :)


  10. jubilare February 11, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    I know Stranger than Fiction, and I very much want to read the Inkheart series. I haven’t seen that film, though, or Midnight in Paris.

    I don’t know that there are writer-specific films I could suggest, but there are certainly many that have effected me as a writer.

    • Stephanie Orges February 11, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      The Inkheart books do a fantastic job of exploring all the different aspects of the concept – especially in books 2 and 3 when the characters actually get into the book world and the author sees if he can change the world by writing new things. And questioning whether the author was really the creator or the world always existed and he was just a vessel…so forth. I was also impressed with the author’s ability to keep each character distinct, despite the fact that there were lots of them. And all of it translated from German! Very well done.
      Another fun note: the second book is dedicated to Brendan Fraser, who plays the hero in the movie. The author actually had him in mind when she wrote the character…which is kind of freaky considering what happens in book three, which I won’t give away. : )

      • jubilare February 12, 2013 at 6:13 am #

        You intrigue me!

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