Films have a way of inspiring us. While books, people and nature can open the minds of creators, movies hold an untouched charm to them, from their cinematography and screenplay to their overall theme.
Here’s my list of movies I think every writer should watch.
1. The End of the Tour
In March 1996, Rolling Stone magazine writer, David Lipsky, sets out to interview Infinite Jest novelist, David Foster Wallace. Wallace, played by Jason Segel, who hunkers down in Bloomington, Ill., participates in the five-day-long interview conducted by the overdetermined Lipsky, played by Jesse Eisenberg.
What this movie lacks in plot, makes up in character exploration. The dynamic between David Foster Wallace and David Lipsky is unreal, forcing us to pause the movie and sit back and say, “Oh, shit.” In this film, where an emotional connection is certainly felt, an intellectual connection is chucked to the back seat. Egotism is apparent but not regarding the Oxford comma. Writers experiencing inferiority or constant unfulfillment will get it.
2. Nocturnal Animals
A successful art gallery owner receives a book, written by her ex-husband. She is consumed by the compelling novel, a piece of genius that causes her to reevaluate her life and face her inauspicious reality.
Nocturnal Animals is filled with suspense, something we gobble up. If you’re interested in personal progression and telling others, “Yeah, I made it,” then I suggest this one. Writers who’ve been doubted by their closest peers will take comfort in the revenge in this film when even their dearest ones failed to root for them in their darkest corners.
3. The Words
Bradley Cooper steals another writer’s work and publishes it as his own.
It’s a good film to sit back and watch after pumping out 5,000 words from your last chapter. It has it all: writer’s block, literary plagiarism and inferiority. The Words is paramount to the world we live in today: how we can lose our voice for the sake of becoming someone idolized and esteemed in an era saturated with others like us.
4. Ruby Sparks
A character from Calvin Weir-Fields’ latest work comes alive. He soon learns that her feelings and actions are dictated by the words he writes on his typewriter.
Writers are everyone in their book—of course, we created them. We don’t have to find them in our kitchen making dinner for us to understand how real they are. Ruby Sparks is a delightful treat for authors who’ve ever wanted to meet their protagonist in the flesh.
Paul Sheldon gets into a car crash one winter day and is rescued by a crazed fan of his work. As she shapes him back to wellness (or not) her obsession escalates.
We mustn’t forget how influential our ideas and words are. In Misery, we get a fun, comical way of seeing how our books can greatly dominate our readers.
6. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth try and make it in a Hollywood industry that’s ever-evolving.
Although an extremely random selection, I’d be remiss in not sharing this one with other writers. In light of a period when cults and drugs ran rife in 1969, we find that Quentin Tarantino isn’t afraid to play with history. He’s got a far-fetched imagination and writers who mirror his outlandish vision will entertain the idea of unabashedly applying the same singular approach to their work.
7. The Wife
A husband is about to receive the Nobel Prize for literature as his wife tags-along and returns to a past that often catches up with her.
It’d be a sucker punch move for me to say that The Wife demonstrates patriarchy. Really, it’s more than that and frankly, that wasn’t on the forefront of my mind. I grew acquainted with three different writers in this movie: the empath with unmarred diplomacy, a hungry wandering-eyed narcissist, and a relentless writer with a role to fill who I’d say mediates the two. In The Wife, writers will reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and be reminded of their vulnerabilities and the people they love despite their dear one’s futile delivery.