Happy First of October, guys! Say, in honor of it being Throwback Thursday too, did you know that I’ve been meaning to write an entry about my favorite writing and author movies, like, for literally years?
I’m not even quite sure how I never finished it all this time. It’s so easy to write up a list! But then again, it’s easy, so maybe boredom drove out of the idea, or I was making the write-ups too complicated, or hunting for images got tedious, or I found more interesting things to write about? No idea, but its presence in my draft posts list was bugging me, so as you probably guessed, today is the day it goes out!
Naturally I LOVE watching movies about writing and the creative process, and these films have inspired me the most over the years! I’ve even written whole journal entries about some of them in the past! So here they are, at long last, in no particular order and mostly spoiler-free.
Beatrix Potter is one of my beloved favorite children’s authors, and this movie beautifully and charmingly captures the spirit of her life’s goals and dreams.
It paints a picture of a very creative, free-spirited woman who bucks traditional gender roles in an effort to get her books published. Even though she achieves her writing dream, when another precious dream is crushed, she is bewildered by all-consuming despair, and falls into a deep creative rut. But in the end, we are encouraged to see that no matter what happens in life, every end gives us the chance to start over and re-discover ourselves.
Also, she talks to her drawings, and they respond! <3 <3 <3
I’ve known this classic story since I was kid: four adoring sisters and their mother wait for their father to return from war, and we watch them learn and grow side by side, through thick and thin. Of the sisters, of course my favorite was Jo, because she wanted to be a published writer, and eventually we see her achieve her dream. She also inspired me to find my own writing hat, but I’ve never found the perfect one.
This movie captures all the things I loved about the book: the warmth, the heart, the varied personalities of the sisters, and the adorable slice of life moments that make me wish I wrote a newspaper with my sister, or had my best friend living in my neighborhood.
Every writer has wondered what it would be like if they could meet one of their characters, to see them in the flesh as a real person. This movie asks that question, and shows us what could happen if a character written by a talented author suddenly appeared in the real world. Would they know they were fictional? Could you change them by writing more about them? What would you do if you lost control of your creation?
But if you’re wondering how Ruby actually got there, or other science facts, then repeat to yourself, “It’s just a movie, I should really just relax.” (La la la!)
The Secret of Kells
I’ve always been a huge fan of medieval history, folklore, and Celtic culture. Craft a story involving all of that with imaginative, beautiful animation, whimsical storytelling and gorgeous music, and you have an instant gem of a movie. Make the plot specifically about an illuminated manuscript, and add an adorable cat sidekick, and you have officially guaranteed that I will buy it on DVD. This movie, as you probably guessed, has all those things.
I already wrote a post about how much I love this movie a few years ago, but let me just say that THERE IS A BATTLE THAT IS FOUGHT AND WON WITH A PIECE OF DRAWING CHALK. Your argument is invalid.
Whisper of the Heart
Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli movies are some of my favorite examples of Japanese animation ever created, and even though Whisper of the Heart is less popular, in no way is it inferior to movies like Nausicaä, Spirited Away, or Howl’s Moving Castle.
It’s about a young girl who writes her first fantasy novel, inspired by curious and almost magical things she experiences in her ordinary life. I’ve blogged about the awesomeness of this movie too, and every time I watch it, it never fails to encourage me to keep editing and working on my writing craft, to make my stories the best that they can be. And to never stop looking for the magic in everyday places, or stop listening to the whispers of my heart.
In the Realms of the Unreal
Another movie I’ve blogged about previously, this one is actually a documentary about the very real, very mysterious life of Henry Darger.
It tells the fascinating true story of a poor, quiet man who lived a lonely life, and for years secretly wrote and illustrated page after page of an exhaustive novel series, only discovered after he was on his death bed. It’s poignant, baffling, beautiful and tragic, and I highly recommend it for any documentary fans who love strange stories that peer into the mysterious world of the creative mind.
It’s been a while since I watched this movie in college, but it’s really stuck with me. This unusual film is a comic drama about the life of Harvey Pekar (played by Paul Giamatti), writer and illustrator of the autobiographical comic series American Splendor, which became popular in the 1970s. But what makes the film unusual is when the REAL Harvey Pekar comes on screen out of nowhere, and the movie turns into a documentary! In a movie about a man who writes an autobiographical comic series, we see an actor’s depiction of his life as he creates the comics, and we get the real creator himself commenting on all of this in the same movie. Talk about meta! Both parts run parallel and interchangeably, and at first it’s strange when you find out the “movie” parts are basically reenactments with a big budget, but then it just adds to the quirkiness of Pekar and the story, and the comics themselves, and you become even more immersed.
Stranger Than Fiction
One day, Harold Crick suddenly starts hearing his life being narrated as he lives it, and he gets more and more paranoid when the voice announces his imminent death. Little does he know that an author has complete control over his every move, but she isn’t quite sure how to kill him, yet.
I just loved the idea, having the author and creation in a battle of wills that both are determined to win. Will Harold figure out a way to save his own life? The story becomes even more meta because you aren’t sure if Harold is a real person, or just in the author’s imagination.
I hope I haven’t said too much, but I haven’t given the ending away! So you should totally go watch it and find out what happens!
The quest always continues, and I have a few possible new favorites waiting patiently to be watched in my Netflix queue!
What’s your favorite movie about writing or the creative process? Leave recommendations in the comments!