Because writers’ block is an all-too-common occurrence, it’s no surprise that movies have explored the subject. IMDb’s picks for the finest movies of all time.
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Every writer will at some point experience writer’s block. Even while some authors dismiss the concept of a “writer’s block” as a myth, it is possible for writers to experience periods of creativity stagnation where no new ideas come. Writer’s block has been depicted in films about real or fictional writers as a realistic period of despondency or as a surreal condition of fear and fury.
Others like The Shining, like Adaptation, are based on the screenwriter’s own battles with writer’s block.
10 Young Adult (2011)- 6.2
The script for this comedy-drama was written by Diablo Cody (of Juno fame), and it serves as a coming-of-age story for an author going through a midlife crisis. Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is the author of a popular YA novel series, which is fairly profitable. In an attempt to reunite with her ex-boyfriend, she returns to her hometown, where she is struggling with new ideas and drinking. A downward spiral begins when she discovers that her ex-boyfriend has a family of his own.
With her performance, Theron expertly conveyed a character who wishes she had more in both her personal and professional life, expressing her stress and anger.
9 People Places Things (2015)- 6.9
The ephemeral nature of human love is beautifully depicted in the film People Places Things. Jemaine Clement plays a comic book artist who is dealing with a professional downturn and a recent divorce in this film. With the mother of one of his students, he strikes up a new connection. It becomes difficult for him to mix roles when his ex-wife decides to leave their children with him.
As his focus shifts away from work, he begins to question whether he’s truly over his ex. There is a lot of self-reflection on the part of the main character, which is a common but comforting motif in films about writers.
8 Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)- 7.1
starring Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me tells the story of Lee Israel’s life. Based on Israel’s book of the same name about her literary forgeries, which she describes in great detail. The film portrays Israel as a former star biographer who is now a washed-up writer. Writer’s block, discarded ideas, drinking, and financial hardships are all she has left to contend with at this point.
No, she doesn’t write a follow-up novel based on her frustrations. Instead, she begins forging and re-creating letters written by deceased authors and playwrights, which she then sells to collectors. As a writer, she is able to generate works that look authentic and are subsequently sold for a great profit.
7 TIE: Shakespeare In Love (1998)- 7.1
Shakespeare in Love is, without a doubt, a melodramatic love story. Beyond that, it’s a fun look at the creative process behind Romeo & Juliet in a fictional setting. The Bard of Avon, played by Joseph Fiennes, is a playwright of considerable renown. To get a new play, fate brings him into contact with the noble lady Anne Hathaway’ (Gwyneth Paltrow). The heart of the story is conveyed in a lyrical manner through their love.
Nevertheless, Shakespeare also has a few sequences in which he struggles with his writing and his love life. On top of all that, he is inspired to write by his intense real-life love story.
6 TIE: Wonder Boys (2000)- 7.2
Wonder Boys portrays Michael Douglas as a creative writing professor who, unfortunately, is unable to complete his own work. His divorce, an affair with the wife of the college chancellor, and one of his own students, an aspiring writer, all complicate matters.
As a result, the protagonist becomes envious of his student, who he believes is on the fast track to becoming a best-selling writer. Douglas’ persona develops an air of old age and cynicism as he works to complete his book. Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, and Robert Downey Jr. are among the film’s impressive cast.
5 TIE: Ruby Sparks (2012)- 7.2
Ruby Sparks discovers a writer who is attempting to replicate the popularity of his first novel in a delightful romantic dream. He’s depressed and anxious, so he decides to write a story about his perfect romantic partner. As a result, a woman named Ruby Sparks appears out of nowhere. The writer, oblivious to the fact that he has created her, ends up in a romantic connection with her. Ruby Sparks does exactly what he tells her to do.
As is the case in any relationship, things can go poorly from time to time. As a result of this, he is even more puzzled about how to finish his story with the woman in his thoughts. As a result of Zoe Kazan (who also wrote the film) and Paul Dano’s starring roles, the picture is entertaining.
4 TIE: Barton Fink (1991)- 7.7
John Turturro plays the title character in Barton Fink, a bashful screenwriter hired by a Hollywood firm to pen low-budget films. However, nothing appears to help him achieve his objectives, and he begins to have writer’s block. It’s Fink’s neighbor, a mosquito, and a writer’s helper who keep him from concentrating.
It’s difficult to assign a genre to this film because it explores a wide range of philosophical issues. As a Coen Brothers picture, it has echoes of a psychological thriller and a horror noir, but it also has a sense of comedy.
3 TIE: Adaptation (2002)- 7.7
An assignment for Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay was to convert the nonfiction book The Orchid Thief into a film script. Adaptation was the result of Kaufman’s writer’s block and a radically creative exaggeration of both the novel and Kaufman’s own writer’s block. In addition to the numerous meta-elements, he also summoned an identical twin brother.
Cage plays Kaufman and his imaginary twin, Donald, as he attempts to complete his screenplay. The Orchid Thief’s events are revisited in a subplot. Adaptation is an excellent example of a writer taking advantage of his own writer’s block in order to make a profit.
2 Almost Famous (2000)- 7.9
Cameron Crowe’s own experience as a Rolling Stone journalist inspired him to develop and direct the film Almost Famous. William Miller (Patrick Fugit), a 15-year-old Rolling Stone writer, leaves his home to do an article on Stillwater. The teen’s life is forever changed as a result of the band’s tour.
In the end, he finds it difficult to write the piece since he can’t seem to get his story straight and honest. For more than just commenting on musicians, this film offers a perspective on how to separate “personal” from “professional” in the music industry.
1 The Shining (1980)- 8.4
When a writer gets stuck on a new project, such as a book manuscript, writer’s block can be terrifying. When you add in a ghostly presence, you’ve got the makings of one of the greatest horror films of all time. Jack Nicholson’s portrayal as Jack Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a highlight of this slow-burning horror thriller.
Torrance is prone to bouts of fury as a writer. He’s lost in the pages of his latest work because he’s become dependent on the bottle. A winter caretaker position at Overlook Hotel piques his interest because he sees it as an ideal place to work. His family moves in, and he begins to uncover the hotel’s eerie past. What happens as a result is that people go through moments of madness and write things like, “All work and no play makes Jack a boring lad.”