Who doesn’t love a love story? I know I do. Of all the movies I watch, a lot of them end up being romantic movies. Within that genre, my hands down favorite sub-genre is literary romantic movies, or movies with a strong writing/art component. Because there is no one here to stop me, I will christen the sub-genre “Writerly Romance” (if this catches on as a concept, don’t forget that you heard it here first). Three great ones I’ve seen recently are Words and Pictures, Not Another Happy Ending, and The Longest Week.
Words and Pictures, starring Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen, is probably the heaviest of the three, both in terms of stormy human relationships and depth of subject matter. It considers the forms of art, and attempts to take on the perhaps unanswerable question of which is art in its “truest” form, words or pictures? Is a picture worth a thousand words? Does it matter? Is one medium more lasting, more moving, more powerful than another? It also addresses our foibles, why we make the bad decisions we do, repeatedly, and how our willingness to forgive/forget/love anyway is an integral part of the human experience. I’ve made it sound maybe a bit darker than it actually is. There are lighter moments in the film. Probably too heavy to be considered a pure romantic comedy. Maybe a romantic tragi-comedy with many artsy twists. It made me think more than just your purely emotional love story, but I could enjoy the lighter elements in it as well.
Not Another Happy Ending was more directly about the romance and the comedy, though there were plenty of writerly elements to balance it out. Writer’s block is almost hackneyed as a tension element in a story about a writer, but I didn’t mind it here. Found some of the proposed remedies, if not actually useful, quite entertaining to watch. Mostly just light and fun, but sometimes that’s just what you need. Loved that it was set in Scotland, with corresponding accents and countryside shots.
Of the three films, I saw The Longest Week most recently. The writing connection is the most remote in this film, but it makes up for it with the presence of other artistic elements, including music and painting. Visually, the film is gorgeous, not quite as fantastical as a Wes Anderson film, but there were elements that reminded me of him for sure, his eye, especially the, I believe it was a mounted deer head, with a cigarette in its mouth and a dark brassiere hanging from one antler. The premise was somewhat far-fetched, I think by design. Addressed privilege and the impact that can have on willingness/ability to provide for one’s self and contribute to society as a whole. The most mainstream of the three, I found it visually pleasing and overall fun to watch.
What other “writerly romances” have you enjoyed? Or movies about writing generally? It goes hopefully without saying that the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight series will always go at the tippy top of this dunce’s list of favorite movies about writers, but what else? Who else? I am always on the lookout for more movies about writers, or movies involving writers.
I would usually rather be reading, and if not reading, writing. But if you have to watch a movie instead of reading, a movie about writing is never a bad choice.