Movie about female writer 2019

Movie about female writer 2019 DEFAULT

These are the 20 best movies about writers, now available to watch at home. Because now seems like a good time to have a themed movie marathon in the comfort of your own home. And why not make that theme “Movies About Writers”? After all, writing is such a solitary profession, and those of us who do it could always use the extra attention.

A few things to note about this list: they are ranked, with the best one coming in at number one. These rankings are absolutely based on my own personal preferences and biases, as is my prerogative as the writer of this list.

Also, unfortunately, a good majority of the writers on this list are white men, because Hollywood is still overrun by white men. Hopefully in a few years time, this list will start to look different. But for now, this is what we’re working with.

movie poster for the mary shelley movie trailer starring elle fanning20. Mary Shelley

This 2018 biographical film about Mary Shelley is directed by Haifaa al-Mansour. Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, and Tom Sturridge star as three famous authors from the Romantic period: Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron, respectively. Mary Shelley follows their stories, specifically the romance between Mary and Percy Shelley, and the creation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.

Currently available on: Amazon Video and DIRECTV.

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19. Poetic Justice

Poetic Justice (directed by John Singleton) is a movie about a young African American poet named Justice, played by Janet Jackson. Tupac Shakur and Regina King also star in this quintessential ’90s romantic drama film.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, iTunes, Fandango Now, VUDU, YouTube, Google Play, and DIRECTV.

18. Paterson

Speaking of movies about poets, this next one is another movie about the everyday life of a poet. Paterson (played by Adam Driver) is a bus driver and poet who lives in Paterson, New Jersey with his wife Laura (played by Golshifteh Farahanias). This is a drama/comedy directed by Jim Jarmusch.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, Redbox, YouTube, Google Play, Fandango Now, and VUDU.

17. Colette

Colette is a biographical film, directed by Wash Westmoreland, based on the life of the French novelist Colette. It stars Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Denise Gough. Colette ghostwrites for her husband, a successful Parisian writer commonly known as Willy. But when Colette writes a semi-autobiographical novel that becomes a best-seller, tensions between the couple begin to rise.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, Kanopy, Redbox, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Fandango Now, VUDU, DIRECTV, and AMC On Demand.

16. Kill Your Darlings

Here we have another film featuring many real-life authors and a stacked cast. Daniel Radcliffe plays Alan Ginsberg, Ben Foster plays William Burroughs, and Jack Huston plays Jack Kerouac. Set in these three famous beat poets poets’ younger years (1944), Kill Your Darlings (directed by John Krokidas) tells the story of what happens when a murder brings these men together.

Currently available on: Hoopla, Amazon Video, VUDU, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Microsoft.

15. Wonder Boys

Wonder Boys is a 2000 film directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire. Grady (Douglas) is an English professor and a writer who hasn’t been published since his award-winning novel that came out seven years ago. When he finds himself in the company of a new “wonder boy” author (Maguire), Grady finds all of his shortcomings and insecurities coming to the forefront.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, Kanopy, YouTube, Google Play, and iTunes.

14. Quills

Based on the play Quillsby Doug Wright, this is the story of the final years of the Marquis de Sade’s life in incarceration in the insane asylum at Charenton. Here, he writes erotica that a chambermaid is able to smuggle out and have published for the titillation of the general public. Playwright Doug Wright also wrote the script for the film. The movie is directed by Philip Kaufman and stars Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, and Michael Kane.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, Microsoft, Redbox, Netflix, iTunes, Fandango Now, VUDU, and DIRECTV.

13. American Splendor

What makes this particular movie (directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini) so fascinating and unique is its mixture of actors, documentary, and animation, mirroring the tone and themes of the comic book series on which the movie is based. In the non-documentary portions of the film, Paul Giamatti plays comic book writer Harvey Pekar, but the writer himself also appears in the movie.

Currently available on: HBO, YouTube, Google Play, Fandango Now, VUDU, Microsoft, and iTunes.

12. Young Adult

Moving away from real authors and back to a fictional one, I bring you Young Adult, a comedy/drama directed by Jason Reitman. Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary, a divorced writer from the Midwest who comes back to her hometown to reconnect with an old flame. The only problem? He’s now married with a family. And Mavis can’t seem to move on.

Currently available on: Netflix, Amazon Video, Kanopy, YouTube, Google Play, VUDU, Microsoft, iTunes, and DIRECTV.

11. Stranger Than Fiction

If you thought a Will Ferrell movie couldn’t make you cry, then you haven’t watched this one yet. Or maybe I just cry easily. Either way, check out this romantic drama/fantasy/comedy directed by Marc Forster. It’s about a man named Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) whose life changes forever when he realizes that his life is being written by a famous author (Emma Thompson). Maggie Gyllenhaal, Queen Latifah, and Dustin Hoffman also star.

Currently available on: IMDb TV, Fandango Now, Redbox, Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Microsoft, DIRECTV, and AMC On Demand.

10. Bright Star

And back we go to the biographical films. The title of the film Bright Star comes from the poet John Keats’s sonnet “Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art.” This 2009 film (directed by Jane Campion) looks at the last three years of the life of Keats (played by Ben Whishaw) and his romantic relationship with Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish). Hopefully you enjoy Keats’s famous sonnet, because it will be recited throughout the film. But if you love a good sonnet and a beautiful love story, take time for this one.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, Fandango Now, VUDU, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Flix Fling.

9. Adaptation

This movie is very polarizing. Some people love and and others cannot stand it. I am very much in the love camp, which is why this cracked the top 10 best movies about writers (obviously). This one is a little hard to describe, but in short, this film (directed by Spike Jonze) is about a screenwriter (played by Nicholas Cage) who is trying to adapt a book called The Orchid Thief, written by Susan Orlean (played by Meryl Streep). The screenwriter in the film is Charlie Kaufman, and that is also who wrote the script for Adaptation. So yeah, get ready for a movie that’s very meta.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, Fandango Now, VUDU, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, DIRECTV, Flix Fling, and AMC on Demand.

8. Sunset Boulevard

This next film is a classic from 1950, directed by Billy Wilder. Even if you’ve never seen the movie, you know the famous line, “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” In Sunset Boulevard, a hack screenwriter named Joe Gillis (William Holden) is commissioned to write a script for former silent film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). Norma dreams of making a big comeback, but her fantasies overtake her.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, The Criterion Channel, YouTube, Google Play, Fandango Now, VUDU, Redbox, and iTunes.

7. Broken Embraces

This is a 2009 Spanish romantic thriller film written, produced, and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Lluís Homar stars as a blind writer who is looking back at his life. He recalls the tragic love he had for his lead actress Lena (Penélope Cruz) who has died. Almodóvar’s films often feature screenwriters and directors as their main characters, so when choosing a film for this list, it was hard to pick just one. Ultimately, Broken Embraces won out because of the drama and romance, which makes it one of my favorites of this director’s films.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, Fandango Now, VUDU, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, DIRECTV, and Flix Fling.

6. The Hours

The Hours has it all. Feminism, Virginia Woolf, Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, LGBTQ storylines, and more…and, yes, it made me cry. Based on The Hours by Michael Cunningham, this film (directed by Stephen Daldry) is the story of three women living in different time periods and places. But what connects them is their yearning for something more meaningful in their lives.

Currently available on: Hoopla, Kanopy, Amazon Video, YouTube, Google Play, Fandango Now, VUDU, Microsoft, Redbox, and iTunes.

5. Capote

There are a lot of biographical films on this list, but Capote (directed by Bennett Miller) makes it to the top for a few reasons. First, there’s Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Academy Award–winning performance. Also, the film wisely focuses on one period of Truman Capote’s life: the writing and researching of his nonfiction book In Cold Blood, the novel that shaped the True Crime genre. Author Harper Lee (played by Catherine Keener) also plays an important role in this story.

Currently available on: VUDU, Amazon Video, YouTube, Google Play, Redbox, iTunes, Microsoft, and AMC On Demand.

Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saorise Ronan, and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women (2019)

4. Little Women

This adaptation of the classic Louisa May Alcott film was released at the end of 2019, and already it’s shot up to the top of this list. Why does it beat out its predecessors? Yes, it’s the excellent cast, lead by Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, and the queen Laura Dern. But more importantly, for the purposes of this list, it’s the ways in which director and screenwriter Greta Gerwig puts a spotlight on Jo March’s writing throughout the story, especially when she’s penning her novel. If you’ve seen this movie, you’ll know what I mean. And if you haven’t, go watch it now!

Currently available on: Amazon Video, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU, and Microsoft.

3. The Shining

I know earlier I mentioned that writing is a very solitary profession. Well, sometimes it can be a little too solitary. That was the case for Jack Torrance, the main character in the Stephen King novel The Shining. This Stanley Kubrick adaptation takes some liberties with the original material that author Stephen King was not too pleased about. Nonetheless, this film about a writer (played by Jack Nicholson) who gets snowed in with his family in an empty hotel will forever be a classic. It’s haunting and unforgettable. And what writer can’t relate to Jack Torrance’s reaction when Wendy interrupts him in the middle of his writing process? I mean, really.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Fandango Now, VUDU, Microsoft, Redbox, DIRECTV, AMC On Demand, and in your nightmares.

2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

This is the second time writer Truman Capote has made it on this list. This time, as the author of the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s on which this classic movie is based. Like The Shining, this 1961 adaptation (directed by Blake Edwards) takes many liberties with Capote’s original story. And yet you can’t deny what an important part of pop culture this film, and particularly Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in this film has become.

No, Holly Golightly is not a writer, but her neighbor Paul Varjak, who is actually the protagonist and our vantage point in the film, is. Paul (played by George Peppard) moves into an apartment next to Holly’s so that he can focus on his writing, all while a rich older woman foots the bill. When he meets his neighbor Holly, however, his whole world is turned upside down. This movie gets bonus points for featuring an adorable orange cat named Cat.

But while Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a classic, it’s also problematic for a couple of reasons that can’t be ignored. First of all, Micky Rooney’s portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi is white-washing and yell0w-face and racist and anti-Japanese Imperialist propaganda. Secondly, there’s the issue of Paul Varjak. In the novella, the narrator is clearly a stand-in for author Truman Capote, who was gay. In the film, Varjak is straight-washed to become a love interest for Holly. The movie is in no way perfect, and that should be acknowledged. But I still have a soft spot in my heart for this movie.

Currently available on: Amazon Video, YouTube, Google Play, Fandango Now, VUDU, Microsoft, Redbox, and iTunes.

1. Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge! is not only my favorite movie about a writer. It’s my favorite movie of all time. This is another one that is very polarizing. Either you fall in love with director Baz Luhrman’s heavily saturated and surreal version of Paris, or you don’t. I’m obsessed with it.

If you’ve somehow missed this movie thus far, here’s what it’s about. Christian (Ewan McGregor) is a young idealistic poet who moves to Paris at the end of the 19th century to experience life and, more importantly, love. In Paris, he quickly makes friends with other artistic Bohemians who encourage him to write a play for the Moulin Rouge. It isn’t long before Christian begins a passionate affair with the club’s star, Satine (Nicole Kidman). This film is full of music, enthusiasm, romance, art, and, yes, a writer typing glumly on a typewriter. Of course, I cried.

Currently available on: HBO, Microsoft, Amazon Video, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Fandango Now, VUDU, DIRECTV, and my TV screen all day every day.

Looking for more excellent book-related movie recommendations? Check out this list of 2020 adaptations. Or this list of the 8 Best Britlit Adaptations. Now go get into your comfy pants, break out the popcorn, and get watching.


Your definitive feminist guide to 2019’s must-see movies

Starring: Naomi Scott, Nasmin Pedrad, Mena Massoud, Will Smith

We’ve all seen the original, and we all know the story. However, Disney has revealed details about its new live-action Aladdin remake, which seem to suggest that Jasmine is finally set to become the feminist hero we always wanted.

“Jasmine’s main objective at the beginning is to really protect her people and to do right by them,” explains Naomi Scott, who will be portraying the princess on screen. “She definitely isn’t a finished article at the beginning of the movie, but she has this beautiful arc and progression, and she goes from asking for what she wants to just taking it, and displaying that she is a leader.” 

The film will also introduce another female character for Jasmine to “bounce her ideas and dreams off of”, according to director Guy Ritchie. Dalia, played by Nasmin Pedrad, will “help Jasmine navigate the suitors attempting to win her hand”.

“Jasmine is so resilient and independent in this version, she’s focused on things other than which boy she’s going to end up with,” Pedrad says. “She really wants to be a leader, and Dalia really supports that but at the same time wants to make sure she doesn’t get in trouble.”

Colour us intrigued.

When it’s in UK cinemas: 24 May

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The 13 Best Movies About Writers — IndieWire Critics Survey

Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)

“Tolkien” and “All Is True” are opening this weekend, and both films illustrate how difficult it can be to capture the writing process on screen.

This week’s question: What is the best movie about the writing process (or about a writer)?

Mae Abdulbaki (@MaeAbdu), The Young Folks, Movies with Mae

“Shakespeare in Love” probably doesn’t come to mind for most, but it is a great example of the ups and downs of writing. It strangely nails the writing process, while also tackling the business of theater. Simply put, “Shakespeare in Love” follows the journey of William Shakespeare’s writing of his famous play, “Romeo and Juliet.” The film strikes a balance between Shakespeare’s struggles with writer’s block and the maddening passion to write that comes after inspiration strikes: An inspiration that is both tragically brief and all-encompassing.



At various intervals, the film portrays the thrill of finding a muse and the utter devastation that comes with writer’s block and the inability to put words to a page. The writing process is so often hard to convey, but “Shakespeare in Love,” though a bit melodramatic in some of its portrayal, makes it so we’re in tune with the frenzied and somewhat chaotic energy of Joseph Fiennes’ Shakespeare, while also able to feel his despair when he can’t get anything done. Meeting deadlines makes him stressed, finding a good pen (or quill) to write with even more so. Finishing a monologue? Forget it.

Enter Viola, an aristocratic woman who wants to play a role in the play, but can’t (old school sexism at its finest). Naturally, Shakespeare falls in love with her and she becomes his muse. Shakespeare’s focus on Viola as a muse for his play pushes him to finish writing “Romeo and Juliet,” but, as is the case with any writer, his reliance on a muse proves to be just as fleeting as their passionate affair.

Richard Brody (@tnyfrontrow), The New Yorker

The literary pedigree of Werner Schroeter’s 1991 film “Malina” practically insures its depths of insight into the writing life: it’s based on the novel by Ingeborg Bachmann, and the script is by Elfriede Jelinek; it stars Isabelle Huppert, whose creative fury is among the treasures of the modern cinema, and Schroeter’s direction is as freely imaginative with images as its writers are with words. In its uncompromising vision of the inseparability of personal and artistic lives, of writers’ fantasies and realities, of immediate crises and historical traumas, the film of “Malina” evokes, like no other film that I’ve seen, the magma of conscious need and involuntary energy that drives great writers to write.

Sara Clements (@mildredsfierce), Reel Honey

The film that comes to mind immediately when discussing the portrayal of the writing process on screen is “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” It’s not a story that depicts a successful attempt at writing, but rather, what happens when you are wrought with commercial failure, writer’s block, and the discouragement that comes when no one wants to read what you’re passionate about. Lee Israel was a biographer who was forced to sell her personal possessions, and in a desperate attempt to make money, she began creating forgeries of letters written by famous figures. Her financial troubles and struggle with alcoholism came from low sales of her Estee Lauder biography and being unable to receive an advance on her biography of Fanny Brice. It’s a story that all writers can relate to in some respect. We can work passionately on a piece that will barely get any views (or freelance dollars), and pitch ideas that we’re passionate about that editors don’t see value in. It’s disheartening, and while not many of us would go to the desperate lengths that Israel did, the self-doubt is universal.

Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker), The Wrap, Vulture, Teen Vogue, Writing Portfolio

Stephen King has always had a knack for highlighting the often tedious, solitary, and maddening writing process (who could ever forget “The Shining”?). But out of all of his crazed writer stories that have come to the big screen, none have more thoroughly conveyed writer’s anxiety more interestingly than the Rob Reiner-directed “Misery.” Paul (James Caan) is already a successful novelist but he’s primarily known for his “Misery” romance series. So, he wants to stretch himself as an artist and connect with other audiences by penning a new set of stories outside the genre. Because that can be as much terrifying as it is invigorating, the mind of King (as adapted by screenwriter William Goldman) fathoms a deterrent in frightening human form named Annie (Kathy Bates), a lunatic fan who terrorizes Paul into preserving her all-time favorite “Misery” series and therefore intimidating him into staying in his lane. Of course, crazed fans do exist, but what makes this narrative so compelling is how it captures the very real fear of growing outside your comfort zone. And for an accomplished writer who depends on an adoring audience to make a living, as Paul does, that can be the most horrifying thing of all.

Luke Hicks (@lou_kicks), Film School Rejects/One Perfect Shot, Birth.Movies.Death.

Charlie Kaufman is one of the best screenwriters on the planet, so it should come as no surprise that he’s written one of the greatest films about writing. “Adaptation.” (2002) is as enigmatic as films get. The Spike Jonze-directed picture is a meta-narrative based on Charlie Kaufman’s real-life failed attempts to adapt Susan Orlean’s “The Orchid Thief,” which in turn became the screenplay for “Adaptation.” Nicolas Cage plays a Charlie Kaufman with severe writer’s block (and fictionalized twin brother, Donald Kaufman). Its inlaid complexities are marvelously entertaining and contemplative, but it also stands out as a crippling portrait of what it feels like to be truly uninspired in a career field that requires you to bleed inspired creation on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Among other things, it functions as a hall of mirrors for any tormented writer to wander through.

It landed in the middle of Kaufman’s 5-year Hollywood streak from 1999-2004, bookended by “Being John Malkovich” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Meryl Streep (as Susan Orlean), Chris Cooper, and Cage all got Oscar nominations for their roles–Cooper taking his home–and Kaufman got a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay. Note: I recognize this is a stacked subcategory of film history. I’d love to pick another one of Kaufman’s in “Synecdoche, New York.” But before you get mad at me for not picking “Capote,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Barton Fink,” “Wonder Boys,” “American Splendor,” “20,000 Days on Earth,” “Non-Fiction”, or any of the other terrific options, know that I’m backed by the almighty Streep who said “Adaptation.” was “the best script” she’d ever read. And god knows how many mountains of scripts she’s read through.

Jen Johans (@FilmIntuition),

From its opening sequence where insomniac Tobey Maguire — who figures out his stories at night when he can’t sleep — gets eviscerated by his classmates in creative writing class to Grady Tripp’s inability to stop writing his novel, Curtis Hanson’s “Wonder Boys” gets everything right.

Based on the book by Michael Chabon and brilliantly adapted by Steve Kloves, the film celebrates artistic camaraderie and the way that writers eavesdrop, observe, and create stories based on strangers, while also poking fun at the academic and professional jealousy that goes with the territory.

A writer’s movie where descriptive dialogue says as much about the characters speaking as the people they are talking about, “Wonder Boys” is one of my all-time favorite films.

Monique Jones (@moniqueblognet), Just Add Color, Mediaversity Reviews, SlashFilm

“Barton Fink” is one of those movies that’s always stuck with me, partially because I watched it during a 10th grade English class even though the film had nothing to do with the curriculum we were supposed to be studying. That in itself is a long story. But the other reason it stuck with me is because it manages to capture how lonely and, frankly, disturbing the process of writing can be.

Granted, the film involves a lot of other fantastical elements, such as John Goodman screaming about “the life of the mind” and the mysterious painting on Barton’s hotel wall, depicting a woman sitting on a beach, actually coming to life. But those elements come together to show just how trippy the mind can become when it’s stuck in its own world for hours on end. Maybe having existential thoughtscapes at least twice a day while writing is a sign I should seek some counseling, but I also think it’s a symptom of the creative having a battle within themselves to put out the best work they possibly can.

This existential mentality is a bigger part of perfectionism than I think people realize, and Barton certainly seemed to be faced with some of that angst as he tried to crank out the best film ever. Even when Barton tried to escape all he endured and go to the beach, the weirdness followed him in the form of the mysterious woman from the painting actually being on the beach with him. The creative life is one that’s often glamorized, and indeed, it is fun to be able to make something out of nothing. But sometimes the creative energy that’s within talented people can become a scary entity all its own because of our ability to draw inspiration from any and everything. Eventually, it can start to seem like ghosts from your mind are everywhere.

Joey Keogh (@JoeyLDG). Contributing Editor of Wicked Horror, freelance for Birth.Movies.Death, Vague Visages, The List

Writing is a difficult activity to capture on film in the same way hacking is, because the often frustrating process of sitting in front of a computer screen (or, back in the good ol’ days, a typewriter) for hours on end isn’t exactly the most exciting visual for an audience. “The Disaster Artist” captured the incomparable artiste Tommy Wiseau’s writing process, as he struggled to make “The Room” a reality, by showing actor James Franco strolling around empty rooms, eating noodles, and whining out loud about how hard it was, essentially putting the difficulties of his creative process on-screen by having the character literally verbalizing them and acting them out. The great journalism movies like “All The Presidents Men” or “Zodiac” tend to capture the process by showing stressed-out men in wrinkled shirts storming around newsrooms looking for “the scoop” like their lives depend on it, usually while chain-smoking or dragging a land-line telephone behind them — their guy might call any second, after all.

More recently, Best Picture winner “Spotlight” more accurately captured the modern mundanity of the newsroom, with all its requisite roadblocks from editors and various higher-ups, its team of investigative journalists foregoing meals or precious time with loved ones in order to crack a very important story. Even when it seemed like they’d done it, the boss was careful to ensure everything was checked with a fine toothcomb before giving the all-clear to publish. One of the movie’s most peculiar moments sees Mark Ruffalo vying for his Oscar (he would lose to another Mark, Mark Rylance, for Bridge of Spies) with a melodramatic speech about how important their work is and how it has to go to print now. Although it’s a jarring moment in an otherwise low-key study of hard work paying off, Ruffalo’s character’s freak-out helps to visualize the internal struggle most writers go through when trying to either put words to paper or to get others to care about those words once they’re done.

Writing is a frustrating, isolating process that pays off, eventually, when other people care about what has been written. “Spotlight” shows the often lengthy process to getting those words read, the frustrations of making others care why they matter, and the final release once the whole thing is done. It also shows, rather cleverly, the aftermath, when the newsroom phones are hopping and the whole cycle begins over again. That’s arguably the most frustrating part of being a writer; the work is never really done. At least, not if we’re lucky.

Yasmin Kleinbart (@ladysmallbeard), The Young Folks

When I first watched Spike Jonze’s “Adaptation” in an Intro to Film Class, I was reminded of one person: myself. As an aspiring writer, I’ve always found the writing process excruciating, especially the feedback stage. You may have your vision of how the story will play out, but it may not sync with the big cheese’s view.

In “Adaptation,” Charlie Kaufman lays out the writing process like a Greek tragedy; A fictionalized version of himself (played by the wonderfully versatile Nicholas Cage) is on the set of “Being John Malkovich” being praised by studio execs while his head is being filled up with self-loathing. Cage’s Charlie is dedicated to the traditional practices of the craft and thinks that adding in sex, drugs, & guns is selling out the masses. His twin brother, Donald (also played by Cage), is quite the opposite and lives for genre tropes.

When Charlie is given the daunting task of adapting Susan Orleans’ nonfiction book, “The Orchid Thief,” to the big screen, he wants to stay as faithful to the story as possible and stay far away from any gimmicks. However, as we know from the wacky third act,  it doesn’t go exactly the way he imagined.

To call Charlie Kaufman an enigma would be an understatement; In all four of his movies, he invites the viewer inside his mind and exposes his insecurities. “Adaptation” gives such an intimate look inside a writer’s head that it’s hard not to get a feeling of Impostor’s Syndrome after watching.

Joanna Langfield (@Joannalangfield), The Movie Minute

Is it the single best movie about the writing process? Maybe not, but “Adaptation” will always have a soft place in my heart. Charlie Kaufman’s swirling story is a semi-autobiographical take on the screenplay adaptation process of Susan Orlean’s “The Orchid Thief”.  Nicolas Cage stars as the twin Kaufman brothers, a conceit which, of course, allows for all sorts of confidence and talent zigzags. Incorporating scenes from the book itself, starring a fine Meryl Streep and outstanding Chris Cooper, adds its own layer of professional grey areas. Every writer has a process, one that probably does and should change with each project. Here, we see three, very different versions of what a writer can go through in trying to create. Their tortures are our exhilarating entertainment.

All that being said, one of the great treats of my career was getting to interview one of the most creative writers of our day, Tom Stoppard. He told me his gigs as a script doctor were his favorite. Why? Because he didn’t have to think of anything like a plot or character, he just got to patch things up, he explained with a big happy glint in his eye.

Anne McCarthy (@annemitchmcc), Teen Vogue, Ms. Magazine, Bonjour Paris

While “Almost Famous” is not a movie about the writing process, per se, it is one which so well captures the feeling of “other-ness” and “on the outside looking in” experienced by most writers. William Miller (Patrick Fugit) goes on the road with a rock band to write a cover story about them for Rolling Stone magazine. In the process, he wrestles with telling the truth and telling the story the band wants to be written about them. As it is said: the truth is the easiest thing to remember. As it is not always said: the truth is also (usually) the more difficult thing to say – and write.

Mike McGranaghan (@AisleSeat), The Aisle Seat / Screen Rant

For me, the most accurate representation of what it’s like to be a writer can be found in the vastly underrated 1988 Chevy Chase comedy “Funny Farm.” He plays a New York City sports writer who quits his job and moves to a quaint little town in Vermont to write the proverbial Great American Novel. The writing process is repeatedly derailed by various things that distract him (which any writer can relate to), writer’s block hits (ditto), his wife hates his finished work (she’s the internet before there was an internet), and he eventually has to realize that it’s okay to stick with what you’re good at, even if it doesn’t change the world.

Incidentally, Chevy Chase gives one of his best performances in one of his best films. Why this movie isn’t considered a comedy classic is a mystery for the ages. Go see it if you never have!

Christopher Llewellyn Reed (@chrisreedfilm), Hammer to Nail, Film Festival Today

This is an easy one, as I have only ever seen one film that accurately recreates the writing process, at least as I have experienced it, and that is director Margarethe von Trotta’s 2012 “Hannah Arendt,” starring the great Barbara Sukowa as the titular intellectual. Much of what we see Arendt do as she works on her seminal 1963 book “Eichmann in Jerusalem” is sit and stare, thinking. Yes, she does write, whether by pen and/or typewriter, but she mostly thinks (and somehow, believe it or not, this is represented in a way that is cinematically dynamic). And that’s what writing so often is: thinking. There are bursts of creativity, but mostly it’s about formulating ideas, gathering them, perhaps even procrastinating by doing other things. A movie about me writing would involve quite a lot of multitasking until the big moment where I can focus on the main task at hand. Or, like Arendt in this biopic (not that I compare myself to her in any way), I lie down, sit, pace and stare at the ceiling, out the window, etc. Or I play with my dog. But 75% of my writing time, at least, is spent not writing. So thank you, Margarethe von Trotta, for making this film that gets it just write/right.

Joshua Rothkopf (@joshrothkopf), Time Out New York

Every writer, to some degree, worries about being discovered as a fraud. It’s a lifestyle that can feel dangerously vaporous. For dramatizing that anxiety—and for creating the scariest prop in movies out of a stack of paper—”The Shining” is, far and away, the truest depiction of what it means to be a writer, at the darkest times we all know. So much is conveyed in this one montage at the typewriter: Writing becomes nothing more than deploying the same dumb sentence in artful ways—stanzas, paragraphs, poems, thick slabs of repetition. Months and months of “work” (and no play) have been wasted. Cut to Shelley Duvall’s face, and her entire identity as someone married to a writer begins to crumble. It’s the whole reason they’re at the Overlook in the first place, so he can finish his book. The death blow comes when Nicholson gleefully asks, “How do you like it?” There, he’s fully revealed as a monster. He’s either weirdly happy to be exposed as a failure, the jig finally up, or thrilled to be sliding into total self-destruction. And just before he says it, he lingers, watching her. Savoring the moment. It’s Jack saying goodbye to himself. That’s the nightmare.

Andrea Thompson (@ areelofonesown), The Young Folks, The Chicago Reader, Film Girl Film

Like most great movies, “Ruby Sparks” is about so much more than the topic under discussion, which is the writing process. Paul Dano is Calvin, another writer who has found himself unable to write years after his first novel was published to critical and commercial acclaim. Until that is, he has a dream about a girl (and the fact that she is a girl is very much the point) which finally inspires him to start writing again. He starts falling in love with his creation, whom he names Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan), only to one day find Ruby has not only magically appeared in his apartment, but believes them to already be in a relationship.

Written by Kazan herself, “Ruby Sparks” is about how the writing process itself can warp our perspective and relationships. After Calvin finds he can still control Ruby through his writing, his insecurity drives him to keep Ruby in his life by any means he can, culminating in one of the most emotionally devastating finales I’ve ever seen on-screen. It remains a powerful indictment of how many men casually create stories and roles for women can take on a life of its own, with horrific consequences for those who are unable or unwilling to fulfill them.

Q: What is the best movie currently playing in theaters?

A: “Fast Color”

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Hiru Tele Films - EP 148 - සමත් අසමත් - 2021-10-09

The 25 Best Movies About Writers

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Movies about writers are not a common occurrence in cinema. There are only a few filmmakers that have ever been able to capture the cinematic feeling of having to struggle on one’s desk with a pen and paper. Most of them have also complained about the fact that some written texts can never be put to screen. However, when it comes to people writing those texts a few enigmatic filmmakers have managed to portray the zeal, struggle, and eventual relapse of a writer’s life while doing what they love best – write. Movies about writers also have a tendency to overstay their welcome when the complete focus becomes about writing. But a few great films like the ones mentioned on this list manage to balance the cinematic feeling of telling a story – mixing thematic elements to dwell on words:

1. Adaptation. (2002)

Movies About Writers

Spike Jonze’s Adaptation is no ordinary movie. It can both serve as the greatest fear and biggest achievement of a writer. It’s like what they say – You can’t write or adapt something, but you can’t do it without putting yourself or a part of yourself into it. Charlie Kaufman tears the centerpiece of Susan Orlean’s book about flowers and makes it an about the struggles of a screenwriter. In one of the grandest scripts ever written, we dive into the saddest parts of human nature with incomprehensible wit and Kaufman humor.

Recommended Read for Movies About Writers – EVERY SPIKE JONZE FILM RANKED

2. Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset

Though writing is not really the crux of this continuing romance, Jesse being a writer brings newer, fresher, crispier, and more mature insights into the midlife romance that is at the center of Richard Linklater’s 2nd part of the Before Trilogy.  Carried handsomely together by a very real interaction between the two leads (Julie Delpy & Ethane Hawke wrote the screenplay too), Before Sunset can be instigated as the midlife romance of a writer’s life.


3. Henry & June (1990)

Movies About Writers - Henry & June

Philip Kaufman’s erotic drama about a young woman writer being obsessed with an older, famous writer and his relationship with his sensual wife June could be exhausting to watch at times. However, in all its self-indulgence there’s a fascinating look at the female perspective towards liberation and sexuality. Featuring one of the best Uma Thurman performances ever, Henry & June became famous for being the first film to be awarded an NC-17 certificate.


4. Midnight In Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris

Midnight In Paris is a charmer. It’s a smart and witty literary fantasy that presents dollops of nostalgia in a Woody Allen-esque realm. Perceived as a tribute to the city of love, Woody Allen‘s film is about a writer struggling to procure his own-big romance on paper.

Similar to Movies About Writers – How Spike Jonze’s Her Examines the Feminine Side of a Man

5. Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Movies About Writers - SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)

Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard is arguably one of the greatest films made about Hollywood. Recollection the life of an aging actor, the film revolves around a struggling writer who finds himself in a cross when he stumbles into Nora Desmond’s home with a chance to redeem his life.

6. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

Movies About Writers - THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY (2007)

In Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly a journalist suffers from a severe stroke to end up with locked-in syndrome. The film chronicles the life of a writer coping up with these unexpected circumstances with the only thing he knows best – Imagination.

7. Barton Fink (1991)

Barton Fink

Drawing parallels between artistic integrity and smugness, the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink is one of their most haunting films to date. Sold as a film about writer’s block, this John Turturro star-making turn won all major awards at the then-year’ Cannes film festival. Filled with dollops of dark humor and absolutely cracking screenplay writing, Barton Fink is one of the greatest movies about writers, period.

Related to Movies About Writers – A Serious Man [2009]: Facing the Elusive, Malevolent Unknown

8. Naked Lunch (1991)

Movies About Writers - NAKED LUNCH (1991)

Weird is not an accomplished enough word to describe David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch. In a dreamy, surrealistic fantasy, Cronenberg tears down Burroughs’ book to replicate an edge investigation of addiction and control. In doing so, he also questions how a writer needs to erase all kinds of rational thought before he could start again. Note that this is one of those movies about writers where a typewriter turns into a beetle and kills another typewriter.

9. Capote (2005)

 CAPOTE (2005)

Powered by one of the greatest central performances from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bennett Miller’s Capote successfully blurs the line between a writer’s obligation to art and the society at large. It’s about a final dilemma to question the truth or fight it.

10. An Angel at My Table (1990)


Jane Campion’s 1990 instant classic chronicled the life of Janet Frame – A woman author with an unbreakable spirit. A biopic like no other, An Angel at the Table showed how storytelling and the entirety of the creative process have the ability to heal people.

Related to Movies About Writers – An Angel at My Table [1990] – A Fitting Tribute to a Great Artistic Soul

11. The Pillow Book (1996)


Peter Greenaway’s film about body writing is sheer poetry. With its magnet imagery and overall erotic themes, The Pillow Book becomes an obsession of achieving greatness. In a movie that feels like a book or the other way around, Peter Greenaway transforms the act of writing as a matter of life or death.

12. Bright Star (2009)

Movies About Writers - BRIGHT STAR (2009)

The second Jane Campion film to feature on the list is one of the greatest romances of all time. Bright Star is a beautiful, tragic, and often heartbreaking story about John Keats and his shinning light Fanny Brawne. Featuring a star-making performance from Abbie Cornish, the film is notable for understanding what inspires words.

13. Reprise (2006)

 REPRISE (2006)

Joachim Trier (known for the spellbinding sci-fi film Thelma & the drug addict drama Oslo, August 31st) made his directorial debut with Reprise. An engaging drama about two aspiring 20-something writers which showcases all the hopes, dreams and sufferings that come with making it big in the writing world.

Also, Read – 15 Must-See Coming of Age Films of 2017

14. Misery (1990)

While not exactly a movie centered around a writer, this tense Stephen Kings adaptation works largely around the idea of writing having an addictive spell on its audiences. In one of the strangest, most audacious works from Kathy Bates, this Rob Reiner film is about a fan and a writer having a tassel for creation.

Similar to Movies About Writers –  Misery [1990]: MISERY IS ALIVE

15. The End of The Tour (2015)

 The End of The Tour (2015)

The End of the Tour is essentially a character study that operates both, on the mind of a writer and an interviewer. It slices open and presents the mind, spooling everything out on the screen. Ponsoldt film is firmly grounded in reality and yet it’s uniquely profound in its intimate way of understanding and perceiving oneself and others. The End of the Tour is also afitting homage to the infinite mind of a depressed soul and a prodigy who doesn’t understand the way the minds of a male, female, and a cartoon should be represented on a personal wall. It is one of those few movies about writers that are currently streaming on Netflix.

Related to Movies About Writers – Every James Ponsoldt Film Ranked

16. In a Lonely Place (1950)


In a Lonely Place is a deeply Freudian film (if there was ever a category) about a struggling screenwriter accused of murder. This Nicholas Ray’s noir masterpiece both revels in bittersweet romance in a cynical Humphrey Bogart performance and bites sharply with a trembling satire on how Hollywood sucks out the artist out of the writer’s life.

17. Hannah Arendt (2013)

Movies About Writers - HANNAH ARENDT (2013)

Margarethe von Trotta’s Hannah Ardent is a film that nudges on the edge of docu-fiction with a stellar performance from Barbara Sukowa. Recounting the life of Hannah Arendt – the German-Jewish philosopher, writer, and political theorist, the movie explored how explosive ideas can really be.

18. Spotlight (2015)


An unconventional choice for the list but this is the closest it can get to movies about real writers. Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight was the Oscar winner for Best Picture and rightly so, it showed the audacity, power, and courage of writers in the contemporary world of journalism.

Also Related to Movies About Writers – Spotlight is available to stream on Netflix

19. Ruby Sparks (2012)

Ruby Sparks

Witty, charming, and smartly written, “Ruby Sparks” is the rare romantic comedy that re-evaluates the manic pixie dream girl while also being a metaphor for understanding the real essence of love and imagination. Performed wonderfully by a promising Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, this is one of those movies about writers that understand how sometimes stories seem more real than they actually are.

Must-Read for Movies About Writers – 20 Best Indie Romantic Comedy Movies Of the Decade

20. Certified Copy (2010)


Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy is about an art dealer and a writer taking a stroll talking about life and relationship in general. However, with Kiarostami at the helm, it also becomes a playful inclusion of art, its true value and meaning, and how its perception varies from person to person.

21. Little Women (2019)

Movies About Writers - LITTLE WOMEN (2019)

The classic source material has been subsequently turned into so many versions that it is hard to keep count. However, it is Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation that really worked for me. It wasn’t just a slight upgrade but also incredibly sincere in its way of dealing with the coming-of-age arc. Seen through the eyes of an aspiring writer in Joe March (played by an incredible Saoirse Ronan, the film recounts her life with her sisters and her struggle to make a name for herself in a world ruled by men.

Related to Movies About Writers – Little Women (2019) – Own Your Story

22. The Wild Pear Tree (2018)


Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree is a tad bit unconventional for his own sensibilities. It is endlessly talky in comparison to the director’s previous works. Maybe because it is about Sinan – an aspiring young writer who has just finished college and in the lure of finding a local publisher returns to his hometown in Can. The rest of the film consists of Sinan’s relationship with himself and his father and how it defines him as a person and as a writer.

Also Related to Movies About Writers – The Wild Pear Tree [2018] Review – An Ode to the discarded dreamers

23. The Hours (2002)

Movies About Writers - THE HOURS (2002)

The Hours interconnects the lives of three women – all of whom are in the search of a more potent life that gives their livelihood some kind of meaning. In Stephen Daldry’s film, Nicole Kidman stars as the infamous writer Virginia Woolf – recounting her life as a sad, lonely woman who is unable to fight the demons in her head. Featuring three powerful performances at its center, The Hours uses the power of words to bring home some really important themes of feeling dejected and sad in spite of having everything in one’s life.

Also, Read – 15 Best Movies that Take Place Within 24 Hours

24. Shirley (2020)

 Shirley (2020)

With Shirley, Josephine Decker rewrites the rules of a traditional biopic. Starring Elisabeth Moss as the titular Shirley Jackson – A renowned horror writer living with her professor husband whose toxicity is superseded with intrusive manipulation, the film is a classic example of storytelling at its most ‘thrillingly horrible.’

Related to Movies About Writers – Shirley [2020] Review – Portrait of a Literary Icon through a Compelling Biofiction

25. Martin Eden (2019)

Movies About Writers - MARTIN EDEN (2019)

Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden features the handsome Luca Marinelli as the titular writer and shows his struggle to self-educate and become a renowned name in the literary elite. Following the life of the rebellious man, as he withstands his economic disparity to become one of the most thought-out heroes of Darwinist ideologies, Martin Eden is a sprawling epic that captures how difficult it was to become a writer.

Similar to Movies About Writers – Top 5 Inspirational Movies Students Should Watch in 2020

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Can You Ever Forgive Me?

2018 film directed by Marielle Heller

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a 2018 American biographical film directed by Marielle Heller and with a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, based on the 2008 confessional memoir of the same name by Lee Israel. Melissa McCarthy stars as Israel, and the story follows her attempts to revitalize her failing writing career by forging letters from deceased authors and playwrights.[4] The film also features Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells, Jane Curtin, Anna Deavere Smith, Stephen Spinella, and Ben Falcone in supporting roles. Israel took the title from an apologetic line in a letter in which she posed as Dorothy Parker.[5]

The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2018, and was released in the United States on October 19, 2018, by Fox Searchlight Pictures. The film grossed $12 million on a $10 million budget and was praised for McCarthy and Grant's performances. It was named by the National Board of Review as one of their top ten films of 2018. For their performances, McCarthy and Grant earned nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, at the 91st Academy Awards, the 76th Golden Globe Awards, and the 72nd British Academy Film Awards, among other ceremonies. Holofcener and Whitty were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.


In 1991, following the critical and commercial failure of her biography of Estée Lauder, author Lee Israel struggles with financial troubles, writer's block, and alcoholism. Although she hopes to write a biography of comedienne Fanny Brice, her agent, Marjorie, sharply rejects the idea and explains that Lee, with her difficult personality, is responsible for her own career slump.

With Marjorie unable to secure her an advance for a new book, regardless of subject matter, Lee resorts to selling her possessions to cover living expenses. She sells a personal letter she received long ago from Katharine Hepburn to a used bookstore merchant and autograph dealer named Anna. Meanwhile, Lee begins spending time with old acquaintance Jack Hock.

Visiting a Manhattan library's special collections department to research Fanny Brice, Lee discovers two letters typewritten by Brice. She removes one of them from the building and shows it to Anna. Anna makes Lee an offer that is lower than what she was expecting due to the letter's bland content. Lee returns home and uses a typewriter to add a postscript to the second letter. Lee returns to Anna’s store, where Anna, amused by what “Fanny Brice” wrote “several decades ago,” offers Lee $350.

Lee then starts forging and selling letters "by" deceased celebrities, incorporating intimate details to command high prices. Anna, a fan of Lee’s biographies, tries to initiate a romantic relationship, but may have another motive as on their dinner date she produces a short story she has written hoping for a critique. At the end of the dinner the socially phobic Lee appears to rebuff her.

In some of Lee's letters, she has Noël Coward make unguarded references to his sexuality. A used book dealer named Paul buys one of them from Lee and then sends it to a friend of his who knew Coward, who died less than 20 years ago. Coward’s friend becomes suspicious and raises an alarm that leads to Lee’s customers blacklisting her. Unable to sell the forgeries, she has Jack sell the letters on her behalf. She also starts stealing authentic letters from libraries and archives for Jack to sell, replacing them with forged duplicates. While Lee is out of town committing one such theft, her cat dies under Jack's care. She ends their friendship but continues their partnership out of necessity.

The FBI arrests Jack while he is attempting a sale. He cooperates with them, resulting in Lee being served with a court summons. She retains a lawyer, who advises her to show contrition by getting a job, doing community service, and joining Alcoholics Anonymous. In court, Lee admits she enjoyed creating the forgeries and does not regret her actions, but realizes that her crimes were not worth it because they did not show her true self as a writer. The judge sentences Lee to five years' probation and six months' house arrest.

Sometime later, Lee arranges an encounter in a small restaurant with Jack and reconciles with him. Jack, dying of AIDS, grants her permission to write a memoir about their escapades. Later, while Lee is passing a bookstore, she sees a Dorothy Parker letter she forged that is now on sale for $1,900. Disgusted, she writes the store owner a sarcastic note in Parker's voice. Upon receiving the note and realizing that the letter in the storefront window is a fake, the owner removes it from the window but changes his mind and decides to keep it on display.



In 2011, when the project was first conceived, Sam Rockwell was set to play the character of Jack Hock. In April 2015, it was announced that Julianne Moore would play Israel, with Nicole Holofcener set to direct.[6] On May 14, 2015, Chris O'Dowd joined the cast.[7] In July 2015, Moore and Holofcener dropped out of the project due to "creative conflicts."[8][9] In May 2016, Melissa McCarthy—whose husband, Ben Falcone, had been cast in a supporting role in Holofcener's film—was confirmed to have been cast as Israel, with Marielle Heller directing from Holofcener's script.[4][10][9] In January 2017, Richard E. Grant, Jane Curtin, Dolly Wells, Anna Deavere Smith, and Jennifer Westfeldt joined the cast.[11] Westfeldt does not appear in the finished film.

Filming, which took place in New York City, began in January 2017 and concluded on March 2, 2017.[12]


Can You Ever Forgive Me? had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2018.[13][14] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival that same month.[15] The film was released in the United States on October 19, 2018.[16] The film was dedicated to the author and movie subject Leonore Carol Israel December 3, 1939 - December 24, 2014.


Box office[edit]

Can You Ever Forgive Me? grossed $8.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $3.7 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $12.5 million, against a production budget of $10 million.[3]

Can You Ever Forgive Me? grossed $150,000 from five theaters in its opening weekend.[17] During its second weekend, it earned $380,000 from 25 theaters.[18] It expanded to 180 theaters in its third week, making $1.08 million.[19] The film grossed $1.5 million from 391 theaters in its fourth weekend.[20] During its fifth weekend, it earned $880,000 from 555 theaters, bringing the total box office gross to over $5 million. During its 11th weekend in release the film crossed $7.5 million stateside.[21]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 98% based on 318 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Deftly directed and laced with dark wit, Can You Ever Forgive Me? proves a compelling showcase for deeply affecting work from Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy."[22] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 87 out of 100, based on 53 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[23]

Peter Debruge wrote in Variety that "it takes an actress as delightful as [Melissa McCarthy] to make such a woman not just forgivable but downright lovable"; however, in how the film was promoted he concluded that "one gets the impression that Fox Searchlight is trying to hide (or at least downplay) the homosexual side of this story: Lee was a lesbian, while the openly gay Jack [Hock] can hardly pass a fire hydrant without asking for its phone number."[24]Film Journal International said McCarthy's performance was "stunning" and her previous film roles "could not anticipate how fearlessly and credibly she inhabits Lee Israel."[25] Eric Kohn of IndieWire said the film was a "charming melancholic comedy" where "Heller channels the dark urban milieu of vintage Woody Allen", and in which McCarthy's performance "elevates the material at every opportunity."[26]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Gotham AwardsNovember 26, 2018Best ActorRichard E. GrantNominated [27]
National Board of ReviewNovember 27, 2018Top 10 FilmsCan You Ever Forgive Me?Won [28]
New York Film Critics CircleNovember 29, 2018Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Won [29]
Detroit Film Critics SocietyDecember 3, 2018Best ActressMelissa McCarthyNominated [30]
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics AssociationDecember 3, 2018Best ActressMelissa McCarthy Nominated [31]
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Nominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff WhittyWon
Chicago Film Critics AssociationDecember 7, 2018Best ActressMelissa McCarthy Nominated [32][33]
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Won
Best Adapted ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics AssociationDecember 9, 2018Best ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Won [34]
New York Film Critics Online AwardsDecember 9, 2018 Best Actress Melissa McCarthy Won [35]
Best Supporting Actor Richard E. Grant Won
San Diego Film Critics SocietyDecember 10, 2018Best Actress Melissa McCarthy Nominated [36]
Best Supporting Actor Richard E. Grant Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Nominated
San Francisco Film Critics CircleDecember 9, 2018 Best ActressMelissa McCarthy Won [37]
Best Supporting Actor Richard E. Grant Nominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Nominated
Toronto Film Critics AssociationDecember 9, 2018Best ActressMelissa McCarthy Nominated [38]
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Nominated
Boston Society of Film CriticsDecember 16, 2018Best ActressMelissa McCarthy Won [39]
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Won
Best ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Won
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics AssociationDecember 17, 2018Best PictureCan You Ever Forgive Me?Nominated [40]
Best ActressMelissa McCarthy Nominated
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Nominated
Seattle Film Critics AwardsDecember 17, 2018 Best Supporting Actor Richard E. Grant Won [41]
St. Louis Film Critics AssociationDecember 17, 2018 Best Supporting Actor Richard E. Grant Won [42]
Best Adapted Screenplay Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics CircleDecember 17, 2018 Best ActressMelissa McCarthy Won [43]
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Won
Florida Film Critics CircleDecember 21, 2018Best ActressMelissa McCarthy Won [44]
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Nominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Won
Houston Film Critics SocietyJanuary 3, 2019Best ActressMelissa McCarthy Nominated [45]
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Nominated
Palm Springs International Film FestivalJanuary 3, 2019 Spotlight Award Melissa McCarthy Won [46]
Golden Globe AwardsJanuary 6, 2019Best Actress – Motion Picture, DramaNominated [47]
Best Supporting Actor – Motion PictureRichard E. Grant Nominated
Austin Film Critics AssociationJanuary 7, 2019 Best Actress Melissa McCarthy Nominated [48]
Best Supporting Actor Richard E. Grant Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Nominated
Alliance of Women Film JournalistsJanuary 10, 2019 Best Actress Melissa McCarthy Nominated [49]
Bravest Performance Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Richard E. Grant Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Won
Best Woman Director Marielle Heller Won
Best Woman Screenwriter Nicole Holofcener Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie AwardsJanuary 13, 2019Best ActressMelissa McCarthy Nominated [50]
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Nominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Nominated
London Film Critics' CircleJanuary 20, 2019 Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Won [51]
Screen Actors Guild AwardsJanuary 27, 2019Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading RoleMelissa McCarthy Nominated [52]
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting RoleRichard E. Grant Nominated
Santa Barbara International Film FestivalFebruary 3, 2019 Montecito Award Melissa McCarthy Won [53]
Virtuoso Award Richard E. Grant Won
British Academy Film AwardsFebruary 10, 2019Best Actress in a Leading RoleMelissa McCarthy Nominated [54]
Best Actor in a Supporting RoleRichard E. Grant Nominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Nominated
Writers Guild of America AwardsFebruary 17, 2019Best Adapted ScreenplayWon [55]
Satellite AwardsFebruary 22, 2019Best Actress – Motion Picture, DramaMelissa McCarthy Nominated [56]
Best Supporting Actor – Motion PictureRichard E. Grant Won
Best Adapted ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Won
Women's Image Network AwardsFebruary 22, 2019 Feature Film Can You Ever Forgive Me?Nominated [57]
Lead Actress Feature Film Melissa McCarthy Nominated
Film Written By a Woman Nicole Holofcener Nominated
Film Produced By a Woman Anne Carey and Amy NauiokasNominated
Independent Spirit AwardsFebruary 23, 2019Best Supporting MaleRichard E. Grant Won [58]
Best ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Won
Golden Raspberry AwardFebruary 23, 2019The Razzie Redeemer AwardMelissa McCarthy Won [59]
Academy AwardsFebruary 24, 2019Best ActressNominated [60]
Best Supporting ActorRichard E. Grant Nominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayNicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Nominated
GLAAD Media AwardMay 4, 2019Outstanding Film – Limited Release Can You Ever Forgive Me?Nominated [61]


  1. ^"Can You Ever Forgive Me". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  2. ^McClintock, Pamela (January 8, 2019). "Making of 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?': How Melissa McCarthy Stepped In for Julianne Moore". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  3. ^ ab"Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) – Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  4. ^ abMcNary, Dave (May 31, 2016). "Melissa McCarthy to Play Novelist and Literary Forger Lee Israel (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  5. ^Loughrey, Clarisse (1 February 2019). "Lee Israel: The real-life story behind Oscar-nominated Can You Ever Forgive Me?". The Independent. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  6. ^Child, Ben (April 10, 2015). "Steal Alice: Julianne Moore to play celebrity letter forger". The Guardian. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  7. ^Kroll, Justin (May 14, 2015). "Chris O'Dowd to Co-Star With Julianne Moore in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  8. ^McNary, Dave (July 15, 2015). "Julianne Moore Leaves 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'". Variety. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  9. ^ abMaking of 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?': How Melissa McCarthy Stepped In for Julianne Moore
  10. ^Thompson, Anne (October 17, 2018). "'Can You Ever Forgive Me?': How Melissa McCarthy Replacing Julianne Moore Turned a Troubled Production into a Triumph". IndieWire. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  11. ^N'Duka, Amanda (January 30, 2017). "Richard E. Grant & More Join Melissa McCarthy In 'Can You Ever Forgive Me'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  12. ^"Can You Ever Forgive Me?"(PDF). Directors Guild of America. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  13. ^Tapley, Kristopher (August 30, 2018). "'First Man,' 'Front Runner' and 'Roma' Among 2018 Telluride Film Festival Selections". Variety. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  14. ^"45th Telluride Film Festival (Program)"(PDF). Telluride Film Festival. 2018. pp. 13, 32. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  15. ^Vlessing, Etan (July 24, 2018). "Toronto: Timothee Chalamet Starrer 'Beautiful Boy,' Dan Fogelman's 'Life Itself' Among Festival Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  16. ^Merin, Jennifer (October 14, 2018). "Movie of the Week October 19, 2018: Can You Ever Forgive Me". Alliance of Women Film Journalists. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  17. ^Brueggemann, Tom (October 21, 2018). "Jonah Hill's 'Mid90s,' 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?,' and 'Wildlife' Start Strong". IndieWire. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
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Female Authors Who Made History - Biography

By Keno Katsuda and Antora Majumdar

As we close the book on 2018 and wonder what’s in store for the upcoming year, we do know we can at least look forward to some thrilling new women-centric and women-made films. Women and Hollywood has put together a preview of 24 films releasing in the new year that we’re most looking forward to. While not a complete list, these are among the movies we’ll be sure to check out.

Women will definitely not be sitting on the sidelines in 2019. Right out of the gate comes “Miss Bala,” an action thriller that stars a female lead and is directed by a woman. And if you’re looking forward to more action flicks, the year also brings “Captain Marvel,” the first Marvel movie to feature a female superhero in the lead role. Later in the year you’ll get to relive a nostalgic favorite in the newest “Charlie’s Angels” reboot, featuring three new Angels.

If you’re someone who likes to read the book before watching the movie, get ready to hit the library. The year brings a plethora of page-to-screen adaptations from all different genres, including, “Where’d You Go Bernadette,” “The Sun Is Also a Star,” “Little Women,” and “How to Build a Girl.” And of course, we’re also marking our calendars for some smaller indies that are sure to strike a chord, like “Gloria Bell,” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

Clearly, whatever else 2019 throws at us, we’ll have some good movies to get us through.

To keep up-to-date with the year’s women-centric, directed, and written films, check out our monthly previews, sign up for our weekly newsletter, and take a look at our Films By and About Women page.

“Miss Bala” – Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (February 1)

“Miss Bala”

Jane the Virgin is getting her own action pic. “Miss Bala” sees Gina Rodriguez playing a woman who is kidnapped in Tijuana and forced to enter a drug cartel. Though it’s a remake of the 2011 film of the same name, 2019’s version was helmed by a woman, Catherine Hardwicke of “Twilight” fame. This is also newer, grittier territory for Gina Rodriguez, best known for her role as the sweet, wholesome Jane in “Jane the Virgin.” The cast and crew of this feature are said to be 95 percent Latinx, so be sure to check it out to support a fresh take on a film made by a diverse group of creatives.

“The Rhythm Section” – Directed by Reed Morano (February 22)

On the heels of the release of her 2018 film “I Think We’re Alone Now,” director Reed Morano is back with a female-led project. Based on the novels by Mark Burnell, “The Rhythm Section” is a spy thriller starring Blake Lively as lead Stephanie Patrick. Stephanie takes on the role of avenger after learning the airplane crash that killed her family was no accident. It’s been years since Lively left behind the Upper East Side socialite persona from her days on “Gossip Girl,” and she’s since branched out, working within a number of different genres. Her most recent performance as a suburban working mom with a dark secret in “A Simple Favor” was hypnotic, and we can’t wait to see how she takes on this new role of an agent on a mission.

“Captain Marvel” – Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck; Written by Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck (March 8)

“Captain Marvel”

After 20 films made in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was high time we all got one helmed by a woman. “Captain Marvel” stars Oscar winner Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, a former U.S. Air Force pilot. Carol becomes part Kree and develops the powers of super strength, energy projection, and flight after her DNA is altered in an accident. When Earth becomes threatened by alien forces, Carol must draw upon both these new powers as well as her inner strengths to save her home planet. Obviously, we can’t wait to see young women all around the world find another superhero to look up to in the new year.

“Gloria Bell” – Written by Alice Johnson Boher and Sebastián Lelio (March 8)

“Gloria Bell”

It’s no secret that Hollywood has a poor track record when it comes to producing films with women over 40. Thankfully, “Gloria Bell” is a much-needed break in this tradition. The film follows Gloria, played by Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore, a divorcée who would rather spend her evenings on the dance floor than on the couch. On one such evening she makes a connection with a man named Arnold (John Turturro) and finds herself falling hard and fast. But between her ex-husband and her children, finding a place for him in her life isn’t as easy as she thought it would be. If the trailer is any indication, “Gloria Bell” looks to be the kind of film you’ll find yourself smiling about long after it’s over. We’re looking forward to rooting for Gloria, and Moore, in this heartfelt remake about love and life.

“Out of Blue” – Written and Directed by Carol Morley (March 15)

“Out of Blue”: TIFF

A noir film adapted from Martin Amis’ novel “Night Train,” “Out of Blue” stars Patricia Clarkson as a police officer dealing with a grisly homicide case. Writer-director Carol Morley previously helmed “The Falling,” rising star Florence Pugh’s (“Lady Macbeth,” “The Little Drummer Girl”) big break. It’s therefore no surprise that she’s able to pull an equally stunning performance from Clarkson in “Out of Blue” as well. Clarkson’s character, Detective Mike Hoolihan, nears a breakdown in the film — and Morley’s direction uses this to deftly reflect on universal questions of pain and the human condition.

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” – Written by Holly Gent, Richard Linklater, and Vince Palmo (March 22)

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”

Annapurna’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” is another page-to-screen adaptation we’ve been eagerly awaiting. The book, written by Maria Semple, is about an agoraphobic woman who goes missing right before a family trip and is told from the perspective of her daughter, Bee, as she searches for clues to help find her mother. Cate Blanchett — no stranger to playing out-of-the-box characters as her turn as the goddess of death in “Thor: Ragnarok” proved — is taking on the role of Bernadette. With years of experience bouncing between genres, Blanchett is sure to deliver as the eccentric titular character. The film also boasts a strong ensemble cast, including Judy Greer and Kristen Wiig.

“Fast Color” – Directed by Julia Hart; Written by Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz (March 29)

In “Fast Color,” Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), has the power to cause earthquakes. Living in a dystopian world with no water, Ruth is on the run from everyone. With nowhere to turn, she returns from her long-abandoned home to her mother (Lorraine Toussaint) and daughter (Saniyya Sidney). Rather than taking on the typical battle of good, this action pic is concerned with the complicated intricacies of being a black woman with power, as well as the profound relationships between the three women at its center. Mbatha-Raw has never failed to churn out a strong performance (see “Black Mirror,” “Belle,” and “Beyond the Lights”), so this is not one to miss.

“The Sun Is Also a Star” – Directed by Ry Russo-Young; Written by Tracy Oliver (May 17)

YA books have given way to some of the best representations of diversity on-screen in recent years. “The Hunger Games” franchise emphasized that women, too, can be revolutionaries, “Love, Simon” showed us that queer coming-of-age stories are just as important as any other, and most recently, “The Hate U Give” looked at how the next generation is fighting back against systemic racism and oppression. So it makes sense that “The Sun Is Also a Star,” based on Nicola Yoon’s YA novel, would be the next great depiction of two types of characters we don’t often get to see. Yara Shahidi (“Grown-ish”) leads as Natasha, a young woman whose Jamaican immigrant family is on the verge of deportation, and Charles Melton (“Riverdale”) stars opposite as Daniel, a Korean-American teen who is gearing up for a college interview that he doesn’t want to go through with. As they struggle with identity and destiny, the young couple are drawn to one another in a way they did not expect. Equally as swoon-worthy as this epic romance is the team delivering it: director Ry Russo-Young and screenwriter Tracy Oliver. Russo-Young directed the 2017 YA drama “Before I Fall,” and Oliver co-wrote the hugely popular 2017 comedy “Girls Trip.” 

“Booksmart” – Directed by Olivia Wilde; Written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, and Katie Silberman (May 24)

Olivia Wilde is best known as an actress, working in both television and film, appearing in productions like “Vinyl” and “Her.” She has also recently moved into the role of producer working on films she’s starred in, like “Drinking Buddies” and “Meadowland.” But in “Booksmart” she takes up the mantle of director, making her feature directorial debut. The film is about two high school seniors, portrayed by Beanie Feldstein (“Lady Bird”) and Kaitlyn Dever (“Last Man Standing”), who have been overachievers their whole high school careers. As they come to their last day before graduation, they realize they might not have made the most of their experience. The solution? Use their last night to make up for four years of lost time.

“The Kitchen” – Written and Directed by Andrea Berloff (September 20)

“The Kitchen”

After winning a Writers Guild Award and nabbing an Oscar nomination for her “Straight Outta Compton” screenplay, Andrea Berloff has moved on to her directorial debut with “The Kitchen.” The film is sure to elicit comparisons to this year’s “Widows,” as both feature wives who take over for their gangster husbands after they are unable to complete their jobs. But with the casting of Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss as the leads, expect for this to be another fresh — and possibly funnier — take on women in crime.

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” – Directed by Marielle Heller (October 18)

The critically-acclaimed “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” was only released this fall, but director Marielle Heller has a already moved on to her next big project with “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers — of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” fame — the story is about a cynical journalist (Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”) whose worldview is changed after he is tasked with writing a profile on Rogers. As Heller mentioned in an interview with Women and Hollywood, she “loves stories about misunderstood people.” Like her latest film, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” includes complex relationship dynamics, and at its heart is about finding connection.

“Charlie’s Angels” – Directed by Elizabeth Banks; Written by Elizabeth Banks, David Auburn, and Jay Basu (November 1)

They’re back! Though much has been kept under wraps for this highly-anticipated reboot of the beloved franchise, we know that Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska will be playing the Angels. Plus, this story of badass women is directed by Elizabeth Banks, who previously helmed box office smash “Pitch Perfect 2.” If Banks’ success on that film is any indication, “Charlie’s Angels” is poised to be a hit. 

“Frozen 2” – Directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck; Written by Allison Schroeder (November 22)

Sequel to the 2013 mega hit, “Frozen 2” is one of the only Disney films in the next few years that will have a woman director on board. Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck are returning to revive our favorite Arendelle sisters Elsa and Anna, bringing them back for another winter adventure. Lee has worked on scripts for a number of Disney projects, including “Wreck-It Ralph” and “A Wrinkle in Time” and was recently named the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios. In the original film, instead of a hero showing up on a white horse ready to save the day, we saw two sisters save each other, making the film more than just a fun flick, but one which had an important message. With such a powerful woman at the helm of this sequel, we know this film is sure to be just as empowering as the first.

“Queen & Slim” – Directed by Melina Matsoukas; Written by Lena Waithe (November 27)

“Queen & Slim” follows Jodie-Turner Smith and Daniel Kaluuya’s characters on an ill-fated date. When the two kill a police officer in self-defense after a traffic stop goes awry, they decide to run away together. Melina Matsoukas’ feature directorial debut is much-needed right now, as black lives in America are still being taken and threatened every day. As Matsoukas stated, “It’s a film that defines black love as a revolutionary act. It shows that our union is the greatest weapon against assault on black people in America.” This film is sure to be one of the most discussed in 2019, so it’s definitely not one to miss.

“Little Women” – Written and Directed by Greta Gerwig (December 25)

Whether it’s the early 2000s or the late 1800s, Greta Gerwig has become the go-to as the voice of a young woman coming of age. Her 2017 film “Lady Bird” was a truly real and heartfelt portrait of the struggles of growing up, and it received much praise. Gerwig was nominated for Best Director at the 90th Academy Awards for her work on the film, and it was also up for Best Picture, only the 13th film directed by a woman to receive such a nomination. Gerwig will be applying both her writing and directing talents to the newest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel of the same name in this classic story of the March sisters. Equally as exciting are the names associated with the film. The cast list is star-studded: Saoirse Ronan is playing Jo, Emma Watson is Meg, Florence Pugh is Amy, Meryl Streep is Aunt March, and Laura Dern is Marmee.

Expected in 2019, But No Official Release Dates Yet:

“Always Be My Maybe” – Directed by Nahnatchka Khan; Written by Ali Wong, Randall Park, and Michael Golamco (Available on Netflix)

Ali Wong has long been a favorite of comedy nerds, but the release of her stand-up special “Baby Cobra” in 2016 and her follow-up, “Hard Knock Wife,” catapulted her to glory. With “Always Be My Maybe,” Wong finally has the chance to lead a feature. Wong and Randall Park are directed here by Nahnatchka Khan, creator of “Fresh Off the Boat” (on which Park stars and Wong formerly wrote). After the success of “Crazy Rich Asians” this year, we’re hoping to see more inclusive and Asian-made  and -fronted features make it to the screen. “Always Be My Maybe” looks to be a hilarious rom-com with an equally superb supporting actors, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Dae Kim, and Vivian Bang among them.

“Animals” – Directed by Sophie Hyde; Written by Emma Jane Unsworth

If you aren’t familiar with Alia Shawkat, you’re really missing out. The actress has appeared in comedy TV series like “Arrested Development,” “Transparent,” and most recently, “Search Party.” In each role she has proven that she can hit the high comedic notes while also bringing a level of authenticity to every performance, and making them feel incredibly relatable. In her newest appearance on the big screen she plays Tyler, who loves to spend her time partying alongside her best friend Laura, played by Holliday Grainger (“Tulip Fever”). But when Laura gets engaged to a man who disapproves of the hedonistic lifestyle Tyler leads, she finds she’s in danger of losing her best friend. This story of growing into adulthood, created by and starring women, already feels like a favorite.

“Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché” (Documentary) – Directed by Pamela B. Green; Written by Pamela B. Green and Joan Simon

“Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché”

Narrated by Jodie Foster, the documentary “Be Natural” traces the life and career of the first female filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché. She wrote, produced, or directed nearly 1,000 films. Unfortunately, Guy-Blanché was eventually shut out of the very industry that she helped to pioneer. As she stated in her interview with Women and Hollywood, director Pamela B. Green hoped that the film would “further the conversation about how necessary women are to the art of cinema. If people know about Alice — or knew about and continued to remember her contributions to early cinema — how different might the creative and business landscape be? There were many, many women filmmakers in the early years but history has forgotten them. It’s time to change that.” This documentary is essential viewing for all feminist film fans who desire to learn more about the history of women in film, and to inspire us to follow our dreams in filmmaking.

“How to Build a Girl” – Directed by Coky Giedroyc; Written by Caitlin Moran and John Niven

Caitlin Moran’s hit semi-autobiographical novel “How to Build a Girl” is being adapted into a feature. This film also stars Beanie Feldstein, this time as a bright, working-class girl in the ’90s who dreams of breaking out of her provincial small-town life to become a writer in London. Moran, who co-wrote the screenplay, has always been an outspoken, exciting feminist writer, and it’ll be interesting to see how Feldstein makes the role her own — how she does opposite the supporting cast, including Emma Thompson and Jameela Jamil of “The Good Place.”

“The Last Thing He Wanted” – Directed by Dee Rees; Written by Dee Rees and Marco Villalobos

Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” was one of the most compelling films of 2017. Her latest project is a political thriller, adapted from Joan Didion’s “The Last Thing He Wanted.” Starring Anne Hathaway as main character Elena McMahon, the story is about a journalist who quits her job to take care of her ailing father. But what starts innocently enough turns into a new and dangerous career as Elena finds herself taking on her father’s mantle as the arms dealer for a government agency. Through her work, Rees has proven that she is an accomplished writer and director, unafraid to tackle big themes, imbibing her characters with a level of complexity that is difficult to achieve within the runtime of a film. And we can’t wait to see how she puts her spin on this gripping narrative.

“Late Night” – Directed by Nisha Ganatra; Written by Mindy Kaling

“Late Night”

Wouldn’t it be exciting to have a late night talk show run by a woman? Mindy Kaling has turned this fantasy into a reality through her latest project, “Late Night.” Starring Emma Thompson as the host Katherine and Kaling herself as one of the writers, this is easily one of the most anticipated films for comedy geeks everywhere. Even better: the film is from prolific TV director Nisha Ganatra (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Love”). Make sure to check “Late Night” out for an excellent writer-director combination created by women of color.

“Native Son” – Written by Suzan-Lori Parks

Premiering at the upcoming 2019 Sundance film festival, “Native Son” is a new incarnation of Richard Wright’s 1940 book, one of the first best-selling novels by a black author in the U.S. Ashton Sanders (“Moonlight”) stars as Bigger Thomas, a young African-American man growing up in poverty in Chicago. In an effort to help his family, he takes a job with a wealthy family, changing his life more drastically than he thought possible. Suzan-Lori Parks, whose play “Topdog/Underdog” won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2002, wrote the script. Her other credits include, “Betting on the Dust Commander,” “365 Plays/365 Days” and “Father Comes Home From the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3.” With such an accomplished writer at the helm, we imagine that “Native Son” will tackle its themes with particular nuance and depth, and will be the kind of film that follows us home long after we’ve left the theater. 

“Troupe Zero” – Directed by Bert & Bertie; Written by Lucy Alibar

“Troupe Zero”

This new comedy-drama features a group of elementary school children, led by Christmas Flint (Mckenna Grace), who start a Girl Scout troop together to win a talent show. The project was written by Lucy Alibar, most famous for co-writing the excellent “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” The directors are Bert & Birdie, a female writing-directing duo known for their unique, dark aesthetics and direction. Look out for this to see a stylish film starring some rising young actors as well as established pros Viola Davis and Allison Janney.

“Wine Country” – Directed by Amy Poehler; Written by Emily Spivey and Liz Cackowski (Available on Netflix)

Based on a real trip she took with friends, Amy Poehler’s directorial debut, “Wine Country” will make its way to Netflix sometime next year. Like the real experience, the premise of the film is based on a group of girlfriends traveling to Napa Valley to celebrate a 50th birthday. Written by SNL writing alums Emily Spivey and Liz Cackowski, and featuring cast members Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, and Ana Gasteyer, the film promises lots of laughs. Netflix promoted the movie in a fun way, posting a video of Poehler and some of her collaborators on their Twitter page. But let’s be honest, there’s not much of a marketing push needed for us to watch this one. You had us at “Amy Poehler.”

2019FilmsPreviewWomen DirectorsWomen Writers


Now discussing:

This Clip From Keira Knightley's 'Colette' Spotlights A Writer Who Deserved So Much More Credit

Oscar, take notice: Keira Knightley is not playing around. In her new film Colette, the 33-year-old actor puts in one of the most impressive performances of her career portraying the real life French author, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. In Paris at the turn of the 20th century, Colette ghostwrote a series of novels for her husband, who went by the single name Willy, and the books became a bestselling cultural sensation. But Colette tired of seeing her husband take all the credit for her hard work, and she eventually stepped out from the shadows to claim her rightful accolades.

The film, out Sept. 21, shows more than just Colette's efforts to break free of her husband's oppression, though — it shows how her fire and drive helped spark a feminist revolution. The books Colette wrote under Willy's name were semi-autobiographical in nature, and told the story of a young French country girl named Claudine who is headstrong and in control of her own destiny — radical ideas at the time. The Claudine books were also scandalous for their portrayals of sexuality, and proved especially popular among young women in France. The film depicts how the books' cultural impact, as pointed out by and encouraged by Colette's lesbian lover Mathilde de Morny, Marquise de Belbeuf (Denise Gough), ultimately sets Colette on a course of independence.

As a woman striving for her independence and recognition in Europe over 100 years ago, Colette naturally faced a lot of resistance from the male establishment. As seen in the exclusive clip below, Colette and de Morny encounter an angry and violent mob at a shared performance, but the abuse they endure — which includes the throwing of furniture at the author — does not deter Colette from seeking out the respect she deserves. If anything, it just leaves her with more resolve to do what's right, thus paving the way for other women to follow in her footsteps.

Without spoiling the film, it deserves to be said that Colette did succeed in earning some much-deserved recognition for her writing in her lifetime. Following her divorce from Willy in 1910, Colette was able to begin her writing career anew, and under her own name rather than her husband's. She released a number of acclaimed works, including the 1910 novel La Vagabonde, which she based on her own experiences as a single woman who begins performing as a dancer after splitting from her husband. She also wrote the 1920 romance Chéri, which was turned into a 2009 film starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Then there is her best-known work, the 1944 novella Gigi, which was adapted into a film in 1958 that won the Oscar for Best Picture. All of these works were likely taken into consideration when Colette herself was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.

Though Colette passed away in 1954, thus missing out on some of her work's most notable film adaptations — including Knightley's inspiring depiction of her in Colette — she was at least able to experience a portion of the respect she deserved while she was still alive, even if she did have to fight for every scrap of it.


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