Movies about writing let viewers take a look at what influences and struggles writers have. Fighting writer’s block, trying to come up with ideas, and making words make sense are all things many writers fight against. I’m doing it right now writing this. However, watching films is something that has helped me come up with solutions to many problems. Watching these films reminds me that inspiration comes from everywhere.
Here is a small list of films that reflect that.
Freedom Writers (2007)
This 2007 film stars Hilary Swank as Erin Gruwell, a teacher at a public high school in Long Beach, CA. Set in the 1990s after the LA riots, the film reflects the gang and racial tensions in the area. The film follows Gruwell and her students as they navigate gang wars, racism, and growing pains through their writing. While writing is not the center focus of the film, it takes from the student’s journal entries and reflects the complicated issues that are both in and out of their control.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
This 1989 film stars Robin Williams as John Keating, a teacher at a prep school in Vermont. Keating begins teaching a group of students constrained by the strict expectations of the school and their parents and is a breath of fresh air. Throughout the film, Keating inspires his students to seize the day as he passionately teaches them poetry. He challenges his students to think critically and become free-thinkers. As a result, he inspires his students to leave their prisons and chase after their dreams despite the disapproval of their society.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
This 1998 film stars Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow as Shakespeare and Viola de Lesseps. The film follows Shakespeare as he struggles with writer’s block with a new play. In a desperate search for a patron, he stumbles upon Thomas Kent, Viola de Lesseps in disguise, and a torrid love affair ensues. The duo navigates their own creative pursuits in theatre. As a result, their affair culminates in the creation and production of Romeo and Juliet, showing that sometimes living life is the best inspiration for writing.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
This 1998 film stars Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro as Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo, two figures known for Gonzo journalism. The film follows the duo as they travel through Las Vegas on a heavy drug-induced bender while trying to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race. While in Vegas, the two journalists also find more work and more drugs. The film comes off as a wild account, but it is based on Hunter S. Thompson’s autobiography of the same name. Fun fact: There’s also a really cool band with the same name.
This 2006 Norwegian film stars Espen Klouman Høiner and Anders Danielsen Lie as Erik and Phillip. The two aspiring writers take very different paths in life. While Phillip is celebrated as an accomplished author, he struggles with psychosis. As a result, he is constantly in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Erik struggles with constant rejections until he finally gets published. The film follows the pair as they each struggle with themselves and their work, showing viewers both sides of a coin with writing as the center of the film.
Writing is hard. Inspiration ebbs and flows, but is never guaranteed. Take these films as an example of the struggles writers experience when it comes to creating.