Throughout history, there have been many writers who have been underestimated in their abilities and the impact they have made to our world. However, some movie producers have taken the time to investigate these individuals further, and there are some fantastic movies about writers available for viewers to further understand the lives of these literary greats. Sadly, sometimes a novelist is only known for one or two books in particular, but there is so much more to them than their most famous published works and their role in the world of literature. Today I’m going to share with you some of the top films about unrecognized writers, which I promise you will be a fascinating watch regardless of how much you know about these authors already.
Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love was released in 1998 and featured an all-star cast including Gwyneth Paltrow, Colin Firth, Judi Dench and Joseph Fiennes. It is a fictional story involving William Shakespeare, who has a love affair with a lady named Viola while writing one of his most famous plays, Romeo and Juliet. Throughout the film, there are references to the characters, plot and lines from the play, and quite a few of the characters are based on figures from history. We see the famous balcony scene played out during the movie between Will and Viola, as well as the two households in Romeo and Juliet being inspired by the rival playhouses in the movie. While not necessarily entirely historically accurate, it’s one of the best films about writers and provides insight into Shakespeare’s writing process.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
This may be a movie you have never heard of before, but you’ll certainly recognize its stars; Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro. It’s an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel of the same name and shows the duo of Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo as they journey through the city of Las Vegas. In a series of psychedelic events, we see the journalist and his lawyer travel to the city under the influence of psychoactive substances. The book that the movie is adapted from is based upon autobiographical incidents and is a combination of real-life moments and fiction. With the use of illegal drugs highlighted, this movie gives you an insight into the culture of the 1960s and the writer’s life.
Little Women has been adapted multiple times over the years, most recently with the 2019 film. This period drama is a coming-of-age movie that is an adaptation of the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott. It follows the lives of the four March sisters; Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth, who lived in Massachusetts in the 19th Century. We see the struggles that young women went through during this time, especially shown by the character of Josephine “Jo” March, who is based on the author herself. During the period of time when the story took place, it was really difficult for a woman to assert herself, not only as a writer but as a worker overall. Most women of that time received the smallest payment or any payment at all, according to researches on minimum wage from that time. Little Women has been classified as a semi-autobiographical novel, as it is loosely based on the author and her three sisters’ lives.
Even during her career, Alcott received letters addressed to Jo, and she continued to reply to those readers without correcting them. The portrayal of her family has some alterations from reality, such as Mr March, who in real life was very present in their household, as he was unable to find constant work. The Alcott family did, in fact, suffer from poverty and hunger. After much study by scholars, it also appears that her mother’s early life could have been a great inspiration for the story. Once you view the story as a portrayal of the author’s life and an insight into the time period it is set in, I believe it’s well worth a watch, especially with so many different remakes available to choose from.
If you are a writer yourself, I’m sure you’ve experienced the dreaded writer’s block. Adaptation is a 2002 movie starring Nicolas Cage as Charlie Kaufman, who was the writer of the movie. It is based on a book by Susan Orlean called The Orchid Thief, and details Kaufman’s experience trying to adapt this book into a screenplay, all the while experiencing writer’s block. While it does add some elements of fiction to the movie, it’s a humorous film that looks at the regular daily struggles many authors face.
The Hours is a 2002 psychological drama that stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore in the three lead roles. The film focuses on these women, all from different generations, whose lives are connected thanks to Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway. This movie spans over three decades, and depicts the suicide of Virginia Woolf. It’s a fascinating look into the struggles of the author, and the depression and nervous breakdowns she suffers from. This film helps to give you an insight into those famous and popular individuals, who while we all may envy their success, in fact, are actually jealous of other people’s lives and circumstances themselves.
Sometimes unrecognized writers become famous and receive their glory in their old age, or even after they have passed. There are still some who live in the shadows to this day, but their masterpieces and creations they’ve left the world with will never be forgotten. This collection of movies gives you a fascinating insight into the lives of these individuals, and the challenges and tribulations one faces as a writer. Whether you are a budding author yourself, or just interested in the process behind their writing, choose one of these movies the next time you are looking for an enjoyable yet interesting piece of entertainment.