Top 10 Movies About Writers


Burdened with a craft that’s essentially uncinematic, writers in the movies are perennially blocked, broke, and insane, simultaneously romanticized and ridiculed for their excesses―from the wise-cracking drunks of “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle” to the sticky sweetness of “Shakespeare in Love,” the self-regarding self-reflexivity of “Adaptation,” and the homicidal madness of “The Shining.” Here are ten films that have something real to say about what it means to write.


Stories that make us sick, stories that cure us: in the groundbreaking 1986 BBC mini-series, Michael Gambon plays a hospitalized pulp author with a nasty skin disease who wrestles with his demons, past, present, real, and imagined. Rarely have the processes of memory and creation been made visible with such playfulness: goons, dames, Nazi spies, and “Dem Bones” are all part of the brilliantly layered script by Dennis Potter. Caution: avoid the 2003 Robert Downey Jr. remake like the plague.


In Gillian Armstrong’s 1979 classic, Judy Davis has yet to display her talent for caustic sarcasm and biting humor. She plays impetuous, young Sybylla Melvyn, a budding author who chooses her fiction over love.

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