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Five Films to Solve Writer’s Block

Other than themselves, writers only have one other enemy—writer’s block. Writer’s block varies from writer to writer. Some writers simply run out of ideas, while others are unable to continue an unfinished piece. Whatever it is, writers who experience the block just want to get rid of it as soon as possible.

There are also different ways of getting over the block. One of which is to watch movies. Here is a list of films to help you get over writer’s block.


Dead Poets’ Society (1989)

Dead Poets’ Society (1989)

This drama stars Robin Williams as John Keating, an English teacher at Welton Academy, an elite preparatory school. The school is known for producing graduates headed for America’s top Ivy League universities. Keating teaches his students to appreciate art, poetry, and life in general through his unorthodox methods of teaching.

Other than Williams, Dead Poets’ Society also stars Robert Sean Leonard (House) and Ethan Hawke (Before Sunrise). Williams’s character teaches the importance of constantly changing one’s perspective, of taking time to appreciate and make good art, and of living an extraordinary life. This film is perfect for writers who need to be reminded of their purpose.


Before Sunrise (1995)

Before Sunrise (1995)

Written by Richard Linklater, Before Sunrise follows Jesse, a young American writer, and Celine, a young French woman, who met on a train to Vienna. Jesse was set to return to the United States, while Celine was flying back to Paris. Upon reaching Vienna, Jesse convinces Celine to disembark with him, to which she agrees. The two of them roam the streets of Vienna, getting to know each other before Jesse’s flight scheduled the next morning.

Before Sunrise has two more sequels, Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2013). The film is considered minimalistic, as it focuses solely on Jesse and Celine’s relationship rather than having a complicated plot. This movie is a great choice for writers who are experiencing a block in creating dialogue for their characters.


Stranger than Fiction (2006)

Stranger than Fiction (2006)

Starring Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson, this comedy fantasy drama has two converging plots. The main story follows tax agent Harold Crick (Ferrell), who lives his life by his wristwatch. He starts hearing the voice of a woman who seemingly narrates his life as it unfolds, but he is unable to communicate with it. The same voice predicts his “imminent death.” The film also follows author Karen Eiffel (Thompson), a writer known for featuring main character deaths in all her work and who is the voice in Harold’s head.

The film features a stellar cast with the likes of Maggie Gyllenhaal, Queen Latifah, and Dustin Hoffman alongside Ferrell and Thompson. Karen herself in the movie struggles from writer’s block, and the film shows her struggles as she tries to overcome it through research. This film is perfect for writers who don’t know what happens next in their own stories.


Ruby Sparks (2012)


Written by and starring Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks follows the story of novelist Calvin Weir-Fields, who was able to write a successful novel at a very young age and is now facing pressure because he hasn’t written anything in years. In an attempt to help him overcome his writer’s block, his therapist gives him an assignment: to write about someone who likes his dog Scotty. Calvin then dreams about an attractive young woman who says she likes his dog. He wakes up inspired and writes about her, naming her Ruby Sparks. Calvin continues to dream and write about Ruby, slowly falling in love with her. Ruby then appears one morning out of nowhere, and Calvin ignores her, believing that she is a figment of his imagination. In a public confrontation, Calvin confirms that Ruby has in fact become a real person.

As the movie progresses, Calvin’s and Ruby’s lives become more intertwined, not only as lovers, but also as a creator and creation. It soon becomes more apparent that Calvin has control over Ruby’s actions and intentions, and it is up to him whether or not he will abuse this power. Writers who feel disconnected from their characters can learn a lot from this film, as well as those who need another writer to relate to.


After the Dark (2013)

After the Dark (2013)

This science fiction psychological thriller takes the atomic bomb bunker puzzle and turns it on its head, bringing together an entire philosophy class in order to figure out how best to save the human race after the end of the world. The class’s professor, Mr. Zimit, gives them the situation: in preparation for an atomic apocalypse, there is a bunker with enough resources for a year, but out of twenty, they can only choose 10 people. Zimit distributes cards with details about the students’ characters in the exercise. The class then argues who enters the bunker. The exercise is repeated twice, twisting the students’ characters and the situation of the apocalypse each time.

The movie features Sophie Lowe, Rhys Wakefield, Bonnie Wright, Daryl Sabara, Freddie Stroma, Katie Findlay, and James D’Arcy as Mr. Zimit. The film tackles various issues, mostly ethics, morality, and humanity. After the Dark is a good choice for writers who want to further explore conflict and human philosophy.


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