Movie Recommendations

 

 

Not even we here at The Center for Fiction can read books all the time. Sometimes we take a break and put on a movie, BUT of course we only watch movies about writers. Here's a roundup of some of our favorite films featuring brooding authors of all sorts. We hope you enjoy our picks and that you'll maybe even get a little bit of inspiration from seeing these writers on the big screen! 

 


 

 

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

directed by Paul Schrader (1985)

 

Based on the life of the controversial and enigmatic Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, this movie takes place on the last day of his life. The film flashes back in time and also dramatizes scenes from some of his books. Pick up Mishima's Spring Snow, the first in his The Sea of Fertility series, if you enjoyed the film. 



 

 

Out of Africa

directed by Sydney Pollack (1985)

 

No list of movies about writers would be complete without Out of Africa, the beautiful film about writer Isak Dinesen (the pen name of Karen Blixen), starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. The only bad thing we can say about this movie is that it has somewhat eclipsed Dinesen's own writing. After pressing play, read Dinesen's evocative memoir that the movie is based on (there's more farming and less romance).

 


 

 

My Left Foot

directed by Jim Sheridan (1989)

 

Another no-brainer for our list, My Left Foot is based on the memoir of Irish writer and painter Christy Brown who was born with cerebral palsy. The movie won a slew of Academy Awards including Best Picture, and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis's charismatic performance. You can read Brown's memoir after watching the movie or check out his novel Down All the Days

 


 

 

Shadowlands

directed by Richard Attenborough (1993)


Romance isn't the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis, but Shadowlands does a lovely job of, errrrr, chronicling Lewis's relationship with American poet Joy Gresham nee Davidman. Lewis left a lot of writing behind that had nothing to do with lions, witches or wardrobes; if you'd like more insight into his life try his Surprised by Joy

 


 

 

Before Night Falls

directed by Julian Schnabel (2000)

 

Before Night Falls can be thanked for bringing two important artists to the attention of the public: actor Javier Bardem for his break-out performance, and Reinaldo Arenas the writer Bardem portrays. The film follows the novelist, poet, and playwright as he comes of age in Cuba during Castro's regime, and his eventual escape to America following his persecution over his politics and sexuality. Start with Arenas's Farewell to the Sea after watching the film. 

 


 

 

Iris

directed by Richard Eyre (2001)

 

The trailer for this one doesn't quite do justice to the biopic of Booker Prize-winning author Iris Murdoch. An all-star cast including Kate Winslet, Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent give nuance to the vibrant life of the author and her tragic battle with Alzheimer's disease. We recommend Murdoch's Under the Net or The Sea, The Sea. 

 


 

 

Bright Star

directed by Jane Campion (2009)

 

We're cheating a little bit with this movie from writer/director Jane Campion as it tells the story of poet John Keats rather than a novelist, but the beautiful imagery and romantic storyline is enough to add it to our list. We also recommend Campion's early film An Angel at My Table about New Zealand writer Janet Frame. 

 


 

 

The End of the Tour

directed by James Ponsoldt (2015)

 

The End of the Tour is based on journalist David Lipsky's memoir Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. On assignment for Rolling Stone, Lipsky traveled with David Foster Wallace right after the publication of Infinite Jest. The End of the Tour features brilliant performances from both Jesse Eisenberg as Lipsky and Jason Segel as DFW. And if you'd like to hear directly from Lipsky, he visited the Center in 2011 to talk about his book. And don't be afraid to pick up Infinite Jest

 


 

 

Genius

directed by Michael Grandage (2016)

 

If you've ever been curious about the relationship between author and editor, check out this new film about the eccentric writer Thomas Wolfe, and his editor Maxwell Perkins (our award for excellence in publishing is named for him). And if you haven't read Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel, now is the time. 



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