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“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)?
Shakespeare - Love - Example - Ups - Downs
“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 - Woman - Role - Play
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...
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