When two of your biggest interests are literature and cinema, it’s a mental tug-of-war battle trying to decide which of these interests to give in to. For this reason, I decided to cull together a list of films that either involve/relate to books, or for some reason strike me as “bookish.” This way, you sort of get a two-for-one deal of books and movies, even if you only did one of those things!
1: Dead Poets Society (1989, Dir. Peter Weir)
I watched this film the summer before I took a course about poetry, solely for the reason of getting myself interested in the subject. In fact, it is John Keating (Robin Williams)’s job in the film to make his all-boys preparatory school class like poetry enough to take his course seriously. Besides being a film heavily invested in literary & poetic history, it’s a touching look at the impact a teacher can have on their students.
Related book recommendations: The Wasteland by T.S Eliot, any anthology of Modern Poetry. (Norton makes a great one.)
2. Stranger than Fiction (2006, Dir. Marc Forster)
This one has “fiction” in the title, so you can guess it involves books. Unfortunately for Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), it does. You see, Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson) is a bestselling author working on a novel about a character she devises named Harold Crick. The thing is, she has a major case of writers block, and she can’t figure out how to kill Harold. Harold, on the other hand, is a real person just trying to navigate his life. And so the comedy and drama ensue. I’m not a huge Will Ferrell fan, but this movie was a pleasant surprise.
3. Love in the Afternoon (1972, Dir. Éric Rohmer)
Any of Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales could be on this list, but I’ve chosen the final tale here, for its explicit references to books and literature. If you’re unfamiliar with the Moral Tales, Rohmer first wrote them all as short stories, and then adapted them into films many years later.
Love in the Afternoon begins with Frédéric (Bernard Verley) & his marriage with Hélène. However, as the movie cover shows you, Chloe (Zouzou) shows up. This is the basic set-up to all the moral tales, actually; a man is in one relationship or likes one person, and is then tempted by another. You see a lot of reading in the film, and Rohmer subtly places in references to art as well.
As this was originally a blog for teens, I suppose I am obligated to let you know that this film is probably rated “R” for nudity/sexual content.
A second Rohmer recommendation would be the short film The Bakery Girl of Monceau. It’s the first film in the Moral Tale series and has no nudity/sexual content.
Related book recommendations: Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales, which are available as short stories/novellas.
I’ll be doing a Part Two at some point in the future, but until then, what bookish films would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!