Top 10 Movies About Writers

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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.

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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.


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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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