My Top 10 Movies About Women Writers

Last week, in my creative writing class, we did lists. I don’t know about my students, but I had a really good time, and I decided that this month, I will post lots of fun lists on my blog! So here’s the first one – my very personal, totally biased top ten movies about women writers, in no particular order.

1. Rich and Famous

I recently bought the DVD to this because it seems so relevant to my life right now. In this story two college roommates remain friends although their lives diverge greatly. The Jacqueline Bissest character becomes a critically acclaimed writer, while the Candace Bergen character marries a wealthy man, wears fur, and starts a family. Then, one day, the Bergen character decides to write a book, which becomes a bestseller…

2. Leonie

Her son, the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi is better known, but Leonie Gilmour was a writer in her own right, publishing pieces about Japan in the New York Times, and helping the caddish Yone Noguchi, father of Isamu, edit and publish his book, The American Diary of a Japanese Girl, in English. Beautifully filmed and superbly acted by Emily Mortimer, Leonie is a compelling story of a fascinating woman.

3. Sylvia

The life of the American poet (and expat) Sylvia Plath as portrayed by American (and expat) Gwyneth Paltrow.

4. Young Adult

This is Diablo Cody’s follow-up to Juno, starring Charlize Theron as a struggling YA novelist. I saw this on the plane last summer on the way to America. I thought it was really funny, and I want to see it again.

5. Miss Potter

Who knew that the creator of Peter Rabbit lived such a tragic and bohemian life? I’d always imagined her as a virginal school teacher type.

6. Rowing With the Wind

A moody retelling of the night that Mary Shelley thought up Frankenstein. Also starring Hugh Grant, before he became famous.

7. The Bronte Sisters

A moody retelling of the Bronte sisters’ literary struggles and successes. In French!

8. Out of Africa

This film isn’t really about writing, but it is about the writer, Isak Dinesen, aka Karen Blixen. And Africa!

9. Romancing the Stone

Just for fun. A romance writer gets swept up in a jungle adventure in South America …and by the young Michael Douglas.

10. A Burning Passion

The life of the flamboyant author of Gone With the Wind as portrayed by Shannon Doherty.

What’s your favorite movie about a woman writer?


11 thoughts on “My Top 10 Movies About Women Writers

  1. I also quite liked Leonie, although as a movie I’m not sure that it was a great one…

    It’s a guilty pleasure because of the amazing cast – the story is a bit like The Big Chill- 1830’s style, but I love Impromptu with Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Julian Sands, Emma Thompson, and Bernadette Peters. It is about the love affair between the writer George Sand(Davis) and Frederic Chopin (Grant). It’s Hugh Grant before 4 Weddings, so he wasn’t as well known, and Judy Davis is wonderful as the smitten writer.

    I also liked Henry & June, although I haven’t seen it since I was a lot younger. It’s about Anais Nin and her relationship with Henry Miller and his wife. When I saw it I was quite taken with it. There is a lot of sensuality in the film if that bothers you. I think it was rated NC-17 when it came out.

    This is a great list! I’ll have to try and check some of your suggestions out 🙂

    • As an expat woman in Japan, I could relate to Leonie. Also, I’m a big fan of Isamu Noguchi. I’m biased.

      What is the name of the movie about George Sand and Frederic Chopin? I’d love to see that. And also Henry & June – haven’t seen that yet.

  2. I’m an ex-pat woman in Japan too…we’ve actually met I think at the Takamatsu AFWJ convention 🙂 I mean the movie itself wasn’t great, it had some pacing problems and jumped around a bit too much in their lives. I didn’t know anything about Isamu Noguchi before I saw the film, so I liked learning about him and his sister.

    The Sand/Chopin film is Impromptu…at least that’s the English name. I think it is fun, ymmv!

  3. Hey, I just happened to come across your blog when I was performing a search on gaijin lifestyle in rural japan. I watch a ton of films myself and saw your movie list here about female writers and thought I could offer a suggestion.

    It’s titled, “Best Seller” or “베스트셀러” in Hangul. Here’s a summary:

    “Best Seller” is a thriller centered around writer Hee-Soo (Uhm Jung-Hwa) who moves to a small house in a rural area after becoming involved in a plagiarism scandal. Hee-Soo then hears a mysterious figure tell horrifying stories and she writes a new novel based on those stories. Her novel becomes another best seller, but Hee-Soo’s success is short lived. The stories in the novel are discovered to have been published 10 years ago. To prove her innocence, she goes back to the house to uncover the mystery that lies there.

    I thought it was an excellent and thought provoking movie personally, just figured I’d share.

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