12 Popular Movies About Writers

Writers often lead a solitary life, filling the pages of their typewriters or word processors with an untold story. It can be challenging to put these stories into motion pictures and make them entertaining – but possible. We’ve seen movies showing how devious and devilish writers can be, using their craft as weapons against their enemies.

The creators of these movies have also managed to represent the dedication, diligence and passion involved in bringing these stories to pen and paper, showing us how writing can unlock our creative potential when faced with adversity.

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This creative ingenuity allows filmmakers to express complex emotions in more straightforward ways. Although we might find it difficult to understand or care about a writer’s ordinary life on the outside, we still relate to the underlying emotion in ways that connect at the end.

popular movie about writers

12 Popular Movies About Writers

  1. Adaptation

    Director: Spike Jonze

    Writers: Susan Orlean, Charlie Kaufman

    Stars: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper

    Genres: Comedy, Drama

     Adaptation. (2002) on IMDb

    Adaptation movie based on The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, released in 2002. This American meta-comedy movie is the story of the writer of this movie, Charlie Kaufman, who was hired to write for Adaption. But on the inside, he struggles with anxiety, social phobia, and depression.

    Charlie inspired his twin brother Donald and wanted to be a screenwriter. To adapt the story, Charlie wants to write it faithfully from the Orchid Thief’s point of view. Later, he realizes that it is impossible to make a movie from it, which makes him anxious. Therefore, he decided to visit the novelist Orlean directly. After learning of his brother’s success, he asked him to contribute to the screenplay.

    They both interview Orlean and later discover her secrets. Orlean tries to kill Charlie but both escape. Laroche, her secret lover, killed his brother Donald. Charlie is hopeful after Orlean arrests him for finishing the script.

  2. Midnight In Paris

    Director: Woody Allen

    Writer: Woody Allen

    Stars: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates

    Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

     Midnight in Paris (2011) on IMDb

    This movie was inspired by an album by Duke Ellington, released in 2011. It is a fantasy comedy movie that follows Gil Pender as a screenwriter. Gil Pender, a successful screenwriter, travels on a honeymoon to Paris with his fiancee Inez.

    He is struggling to complete his novel and move to Paris. After visiting the Paris art scene, he journeys back in time and tries to describe his time travel experience. Gil falls in love with Adriana and travels to the past.

    They both thought that was the golden age of the era. In 2010, Gill revised two chapters that showed his progression as a writer. Gill finds out later that Inez had an affair with Paul. They break up and moved to Paris.

  3. Barton Fink

    Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

    Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

    Stars: John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis

    Genres: Comedy, Drama, Thriller

     Barton Fink (1991) on IMDb

    This is a black comedy and psychological thriller movie released in 1991. The story starts when Barton Fink accepts a contract to create a movie script for Capitol Pictures. He was still unable to write anything. He moved to Los Angeles and found Charlie Meadows as the source of commonality.

    After meeting up with the producer, he accidentally bumped Mayhew in the restroom. After learning he has a ghostwriter named Taylor, he requests to be his assistant, but Taylor is killed in the process. He knows his neighbour is a serial killer and leaves a box behind him. He takes the box with him. Until he was a child, Capitol Pictures did not publish his writings.

  4. An Angel at my Table

    Director: Jane Campion

    Writers: Janet Frame, Laura Jones

    Stars: Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson

    Genres: Biography, Drama

     An Angel at My Table (1990) on IMDb

    This movie is based on Janet Frame’s autobiography, An Angel at my Table (1984). The book is divided into sections and shows the writer’s life journey. She grew up in a low-income family and eventually became a writer. Having been born into a low-income family, her development in her youth was delayed because of mental and emotional problems. She also lost her two siblings. Her success is in her ability to overcome her mental issues and move on with her life. This movie beautifully shows her every stage of life.

  5. Naked Lunch

    Director: David Cronenberg

    Writers: William S. Burroughs, David Cronenberg

    Stars: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm

    Genre: Drama

     Naked Lunch (1991) on IMDb

    Naked Lunch is a science fiction movie released in 1991. This movie is based on Burroughs’ novel of the same name and adds his life events. Exterminator William Lee learns that his wife stole his insecticide and was using it as a recreational drug in 1953, resulting in Lee being arrested. Lee has a hallucination that he is a secret agent and is assigned to kill Joan. He accidentally kills and flees to Interzone, North Africa.

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    He starts to note down the notes as Written documents, the effect of the drug that her wife uses on him, as a result of the mind-altering effect of the drug turning him into a typewriter. After many conflicts, he accepted his life as a writer and wrote. After accidentally killing his wife, he became a writer and enjoyed his life.

  6. Wonder Boys

    Director: Curtis Hanson

    Writers: Michael Chabon, Steve Kloves

    Stars: Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand

    Genres: Comedy, Drama

     Wonder Boys (2000) on IMDb

    This movie is another comedy movie in 2000 based on a novel of the same name by Michael Chabon. We can see Professor Grady Tripp, a novelist working as a creative writing teacher at Pennsylvania University. He has an affair with Sara Gaskell, the Chancellor whose husband Walter was the chairman of the English department. Grady’s third wife leaves him.

    During the party night at Sarah’s house, she reveals to Grady that she is pregnant and pressures him to choose between her and Emily. Grady has difficulties finishing his second novel. Grady’s editor visits the University’s Annual Wordfest to see if Grady writes anything worthy.

    Grady shared a positive connection with his two students, Hanna and Jam. After James stole the memorabilia, Grady tried to find him. Later, James was arrested by the police and released with the help of an editor who set a condition that Grady’s novel would be published without any press charges. At last, Hann completes his degree and becomes a junior editor, and James drops out and moves to New York to rewrite his novel. Grady finished his new book and saved it on the computer.

  7. Shakespeare in Love

    Director: John Madden

    Writers: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard

    Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush

    Genres: Comedy, Drama, History, Romance

     Shakespeare in Love (1998) on IMDb

    If you are looking for a romantic comedy, here you have it. It was adapted from Shakespeare’s In Love Theatre play, released in 1998. It began in 1593 in London. William Shakespeare was the leading man in Lord Chamberlain’s Men and owner of The Rose Theatre. William is suffering from writer’s block in Romeo and Ethel, and he tries to persuade the owner of Curtain Theatre, to convince him to buy the play from Henslowe.

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    When Shakespeare falls in love with Viola, and after Wessex tries to kill him, the play becomes Romeo and Juliet. Marlowe, whom Shakespeare murdered, appears in the church, and both know that Viola has to marry Wessex. In the play Romeo as Shakespeare, Viola runs to the theatre and plays Juliet. Both conclude the play by saying goodbye and instructing the writer to write the Twelfth Night.

  8. Before Sunset

    Director: Richard Linklater

    Writers: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke

    Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff

    Genres: Drama, Romance

     Before Sunset (2004) on IMDb

    Before Sunset is an American romantic movie about a writer released in 2004. As Jesse and Celine meet again after nine years of meeting in Vienna, Jesse writes a bestselling novel, This Time, based on their time together. During his book tour in Europe, he attended a reading at Shakespeare and Company.

    Before departing, both spend some time in roam Paris. They discuss their work and exchange contact details when their conversations become personal. They share how their lives have changed in the last decade: Jesse married and has a son, whereas Celine has become an environmental activist. This makes it easier to remember their old romantic days. Jesse says his novel was about the hope of seeing Celine again. Both of them arrived at her apartment later. Celine dances while he plays the guitar.

  9. The Pillow Book

    Director: Peter Greenaway

    Writers: Sei Shonagon, Peter Greenaway

    Stars: Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor, Yoshi Oida

    Genre: Drama

     The Pillow Book (1996) on IMDb

    The title of this movie refers to an ancient Japanese diary written by Sei Shōnagon. It is an erotic drama film released in 1996. The movie is about Nagiko, who lives in Hong Kong. Her aunt read beautiful things from Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book on her birthday. The publisher arranges Nagiko’s wedding. After he refused to write the word on her body, she secretly moved to Hong Kong.

    There she meets Jerome and convinces him to write about her body. She finds out Jerome is the new lover of the publisher after he rejects her book. The two decided to spend several weeks making love and using each other’s bodies as tablets. Nagiko realizes that Jerome is her true lover. Nagiko agrees to Jerome’s plan to write a book about her body, but he cheats on her instead. Jerome died in the last chapter. Nagiko gave birth to Jerome’s child. Her son wants to know about his pillow book.

  10. Quills

    Director: Philip Kaufman

    Writer: Doug Wright

    Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix

    Genres: Biography, Drama

     Quills (2000) on IMDb

    The movie is about an affectionate relationship between his best friend and his love interest. Obie’s award-winning 1995 play is adapted from the play by Marquis Sade, who was imprisoned for 10 years in a mental institution. A doctor is sent to check on the writer Marquis’ health, and his character grows stronger. He loses his writing skills and cannot write a novel. His wife visited him. Abbey blamed Marquis for Madaline’s death. Later, she visits a printing shop where Abbe begins to scribe, and Marquis provides narration.

  11. Henry and June

    Director: Philip Kaufman

    Writers: Anaïs Nin, Philip Kaufman, Rose Kaufman

    Stars: Fred Ward, Uma Thurman, Maria de Medeiros

    Genres: Biography, Drama

     Henry & June (1990) on IMDb

    Henry and June’s movie is an American biographical movie based on the book by Anais Nin, released in 1990. This is a movie about the writer Nin who has a stable relationship with her husband, Hugo. After Nin meets Henry Miller, who is working on his first novel, they become friends. Both Miller and his wife June were involved with Nin throughout their lives. Miller has an affair with Nin and pursues June. As a result, Nin helps Miller publish his novel Tropic of Cancer, which is the cause of their separation. Later she returned to Hugo.

  12. Adult World

    Director: Scott Coffey

    Writer: Andy Cochran

    Stars: Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, John Cusack

    Genres: Comedy, Drama

     Adult World (2013) on IMDb

    Adult World is an American comedy-drama movie released in 2013. Amy, who had just graduated, was considered a very talented poet in this movie. In response to her parents’ demands, she worked at Adult World, a shop. When her parents discover she has cancelled her car insurance, she bravely moves in with a coworker, Rubia. This coworker is a transgender woman.

    She meets one of her favourite poets, Rat Billings, who asks her to clean his house. He noticed Amy’s poor performance due to her failure to catch shoplifters. Alex fires Amy, but on her birthday, Billings presents her with his poetry anthology – Shit Poems: An Anthology of Bad Verse – and humiliates her.

    Amy tries to commit suicide, but at the last minute, she changes her mind about suicide. The next day she makes peace with Billings, and Alex and Amy become a couple after that. Alex read the Shit poems, and both smiled. Amy became a poet and writer after Alex encouraged her.


All the given movies are classical and suitable choices for those who want to watch something different. These movies tell the stories of writers in a beautifully eloquent manner. If you are an adult looking for biographical films, these are suitable options. The writers are mentioned in this article, and hopefully, they will be helpful to those who want to learn about the lives of different writers.

Kierra Rowsey
Kierra Rowsey

Kierra Rowsey is a freelance TV, Film and anime critic for over 12 years, living in Arkansas with her husband and three kids. She graduated from NYU College of Arts & Science in 2008.

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