Movies about (dead) Authors

The Hours – Virginia Woolf

The plot focuses on three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the 1925 novel Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. These are Clarissa Vaughan (Streep), a New Yorker preparing an award party for her AIDS-stricken long-time friend and poet, Richard (Harris) in 2001; Laura Brown (Moore), a pregnant 1950s California housewife in an unhappy marriage with a young son; and Virginia Woolf (Kidman) herself in 1920s England, who is struggling with depression and mental illness while trying to write her novel.

Vita + Virginia – Virginia Woolf

Vita Sackville-West was a contemporary of Virginia Woolf, and the two wrote each other romantic poems, even though both were married to men, and their relationship inspired Woolf’s novel Orlando. Vita & Virginia includes lines pulled right from their love letters.

Shirley – Shirley Jackson

Shirley follows “a young couple that moves in with [Shirley] Jackson and her Bennington College professor-husband, Stanley Hyman, in the hopes of starting a new life. Instead, they find themselves fodder for a psycho-drama that inspires Jackson’s next major novel.”

Its core narrative is invented, yet rooted in the facts of Jackson’s life. The movie is set in the early 1950s, after the publication of her acclaimed short story “The Lottery” has made her a minor cause célèbre in the literary world, and it follows her as she tries to write her 1951 novel, Hangsaman.*

Mary Shelley – Mary Shelley

The plot follows Mary Shelley’s first love and her romantic relationship with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, which inspired her to write Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

Julie and JuliaJulia Child

The film contrasts the life of chef Julia Child in the early years of her culinary career with the life of young New Yorker Julie Powell, who aspires to cook all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook in 365 days, a challenge she described on her popular blog that made her a published author.

The Invisible Woman  – Charles Dickens

The film is about the secret love affair between Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan, which lasted for thirteen years until his death in 1870. 


 A biographical film about Truman Capote directed by Bennett Miller. It follows the events during the writing of Capote’s 1966 non-fiction book In Cold Blood

To Walk Invisible – Bronte sisters

A British television film about the Brontë family that aired on BBC One on 29 December 2016. The title of the drama comes from a letter that Charlotte Brontë had written to her publisher about once meeting a clergyman who did not realise that she was Currer Bell. It suited her and her sisters that they were not famous; “What author would be without the advantage of being able to walk invisible?”


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