As book lovers, we also love movies (despite the fact that yes, the book is always better). Below, we have some movies that are incomparable to their book counterparts: movies about writers! From Emily Dickinson to J.M. Barrie to C.S. Lewis, there are so many incredible films based on the lives of renowned authors. What better than a movie to put you in the mood for a good book?
A Quiet Passion (2017)
Emily Dickinson was truly a woman before her time. A Quiet Passion, a must-see new film hitting theatres in Toronto this Friday April 14th, is about Dickinson’s feelings of insecurity and how she fought eternally to find her place in life. Through her beautiful, poetic work, Emily (Cynthia Nixon) narrates her adult life in Massachusettes. Prepare yourself for an emotional journey with this film, directed by Terence Davies. Read her poems in The Essential Emily Dickinson.
The life of poet and novelist Sylvia Plath, one of the most celebrated literary figures of her generation, is brought to the screen in Sylvia. The film tells the story of the relationship between poets Ted Hughes (Daniel Craig) and Sylvia Plath (Gwyneth Paltrow). In 1956, the two meet in Cambridge where Sylvia is studying. Sylvia quickly falls in love with Ted, enthralled with the genius of his writing. They eventually marry, but Sylvia soon learns that others are also enthralled with her husband, for a combination of his good looks, charisma, fame and success. Read The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s masterful classic novel.
Bright Star (2009)
Bright Star is a movie based on the last three years of the life of 19th century poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw). It focuses on the romantic romance he had with Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), who is intrigued by the handsome poet who lives next door to her family friends. After reading a book of his poetry, she finds herself even more drawn to him. But their relationship was cut short by Keats untimely death at age 25. Read Selected Poems and Letters from John Keats.
Becoming Jane (2007)
This biographical romantic drama film depicts the early life of author Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) and her lasting love for Thomas Langlois Lefroy (James McAvoy). Though Jane’s financially strapped parents expect her to marry the nephew of wealth Lady Gresham, she that such a union will destroy her creativity and sense of self-worth. Instead, she becomes involved with Tom Lefroy, a charming but penniless apprentice lawyer who gives her the knowledge of the heart she needs for her future career as a novelist. Read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and other works here.
The Last Station (2009)
The Last Station is a historical drama that illustrates Russian author Leo Tolstoy’s struggle to balance fame and wealth with his commitment to a life devoid of material things. His wife, Sofya, uses every trick of seduction on her husband’s loyal disciple, whom she believes was the person responsible for Tolstoy signing a new will that leaves his work and property to the Russian people. This film is set in the last year of Leo Tolstoy’s life. Read War and Peace and others by Tolstoy here.
Finding Neverland (2004)
Finding Neverland is based on a period in the life of J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) that served as the basis for the author’s most iconic work, Peter Pan. Barrie develops a relationship with the widowed Sylvia (Kate Winslet) and her four sons, who inspire him to write a play about a group of children who don’t want to grow up.
He thought that magic only existed in books, then he met her. C.S. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins), the renowned author of The Chronicles of Narnia series, is a bachelor and university professor who spends his free time debating with fellow academics at a pub. Although he seems entirely uninterested in love, Lewis agrees to marry Joy Gresham (Debra Winger, an American writer who is looking to secure British citizenship. It is the beginning of a love affair. When Joy is tragically diagnosed with terminal cancer, their bond grows even stronger.
The Hours (2002)
A unique film focusing on three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the novel Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is a New Yorker preparing an award party for his AIDS-stricken long-time friend and poet in 2001. Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is a pregnant 1950s housewife with a young boy and an unhappy marriage. And Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) herself in 1920s England, is struggling with depression and mental illness while trying to write her novel. Read the works of Virginia Woolf here.
Kill Your Darlings (2013)
Kill Your Darlings is the story of the college days of some of the earliest members of the Beat Generation, a literary movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced American culture and politics in the post-World War II era. In 1944, young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) has a rival for the affections of his charismatic classmate Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). When the rival is found dead, Carr and his friends are arrested for murder. Carr recruits Ginsberg to write his deposition for him, which leads to him being expelled from Columbia but also a letter from his professor telling him to pursue his writing. Read The Essential Ginsberg, a volume showcasing a selection of Ginberg’s legendary writings.
Miss Potter (2006)
Beatrix Potter (Renee Zellweger) overcomes many obstacles in her quest to become a writer, including a domineering mother and the chauvinism prevalent in Victorian England. She falls in love with her publisher, Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor) and his marriage proposal—and a subsequent tragedy—change her life forever.
What’s your favourite movie about a writer, fictional or otherwise? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter (so we can add it to our binge-list, of course!).