Films come in all shapes and sizes. But if you’re like li’l ol’ me, you enjoy movies that reflect your own passions. And, of course, one of my many passions is writing.
There are a bunch of fabulous movie scenes about writing, and there are so many films to choose from. But after searching and scouring, we’ve handpicked six scenes that show just how fantastic and powerful writing can be. Take a look at some of our favorite scenes below.
1. Dead Poets Society (1989)
If you’ve gone to high school, you’ve probably seen Dead Poets Society. Throughout the film, an inspiring Mr. Keating teaches his English students the importance of passion, poetry, and freedom. And we see how these teachings affect the boys and urge them to express themselves.
One of the most memorable scenes begins with a barbaric yawp and a shy boy named Todd. Because Todd doesn’t have a poetry assignment to read in front of the class, Mr. Keating invites him up to the front to demonstrate a “barbaric yawp.”
With a little pressured coaxing from Mr. Keating, Todd moves from a barbaric yawp to a truly creative, adjective-packed poem, and his poem quickly turns into something more profound. By rattling off what first comes to mind, Todd learns that he does have something meaningful to say with poetry, and you can see that little spark of self-confidence.
2. The Help (2011)
In The Help, one brave Skeeter Phelan decides to collect the stories of mistreated black housekeepers, record them, and publish them anonymously for the nation to see. Of course, this is frowned upon by most Americans, and Skeeter has to secretly gather each tale.
We see just how forbidden Skeeter’s mission is when she goes to meet with Aibileen in Aibileen’s home. Skeeter knows her project is illegal, and Aibileen is understandably frightened by being found out and by Skeeter’s own reaction. But Skeeter is determined to help these women be heard, acting as their voice to show the world just how poorly black housekeepers are treated.
3. Julie and Julia (2009)
While it seems like an innocent tale about how stressful and wonderful and crazy blogging can be, Julie and Julia actually shows us how we can express passion, love, and personality through the simple act of writing.
The film switches between the culinary adventures of Julia Child, a famous television chef, and Julie Powell, a blogger that has committed to cooking through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days.
When Julie first thinks of the challenge, she tells her husband a sweet story of when she was girl and her mother made Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon for her father’s boss. While the tale is brief, we can see just how much Julie admires the great Julia Child, and it’s that love that inspires her to blog about her adventures.
4. Freedom Writers (2007)
As a dedicated teacher, Erin Gruwell challenges her students to write about their experiences in a difficult neighborhood. Throughout the film, Gruwell uses literature and live witness accounts to teach the kids that people throughout history experienced and survived hardship, just as the kids do every day.
In one powerful scene, one of her students reads one of his notebook entries in front of the class. It’s a simple entry, and it describes his hardships with poverty and the following embarrassment. But the story quickly takes a positive turn, and we get a glimpse of how his English class has helped him get through trying times. As he reads, you can see how his words affect his classmates, ultimately bringing a silent understanding into the room.
5. Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Meet Mr. Harold Crick, a dull, overly organized IRS agent. In Stranger Than Fiction, we watch him count every scrub of the toothbrush and go through a rigid daily routine until, one day, he begins to hear a single author’s voice in his head. Her voice inspires him to take chances and be someone else. And as we continue to observe, he grows into another person looking for new experiences and adventure.
At one point in the film, Harold is told that he has to die to complete a truly magnificent masterpiece. Understandably, he doesn’t want to die, but the novel he’s a part of wouldn’t be nearly as touching or moving without his death. It definitely puts the importance of a character into perspective, and it also shows that, sometimes, authors have to make hard choices to spin a grand piece of fiction.
6. You’ve Got Mail (1998)
When we think writing, we often think of blogs, novels, poetry, or historical accounts. But writing can also play a significant role in our correspondence with others.
In You’ve Got Mail, we watch two individuals build a profound, meaningful relationship through an anonymous exchange of emails. However, away from the computer screen, the two are sworn business rivals.
In the scene below, the two comfortably exchange emails about the spiteful side of humanity. Because they’ve never met in person, their relationship is solely based on the raw personality in each email. And through writing, they’re able to find mutual frustrations and interests, allowing them to more deeply connect.
While these six scenes are fabulous examples of how powerful writing can be, there are a ton of other scenes that give us a taste of what writing’s all about. Whether it’s a simple letter in Letters to Juliet or the comedic struggle of a male author in Funny Farm, it’s always a delight to see writing stepping out on the stage.
Did we miss any? What are some of your favorite writing scenes from cinema history? Tell us about them in the comments!