This list isn’t about movies based on books, but movies which feature books prominently. I could’ve made a longer list, or include series, but these five came to me after I thought of the topic and I can recommend them highly. It has a few different genres, but women feature heavily in this list. They’re all strong, inspiring women, and they all love books. If I left out your favourite movie about books, please leave the title in the comments below so I can add it to my to-watch list!
The Pagemaster (1994)
This was one of my favourite movies when I was a kid. I loved stories coming alive and The Pagemaster made that happen. My mom recorded this on VHS, but taped over it a few years later. I haven’t watched it since, but I still remember being so caught up in the movie that I forgot to have lunch. The Pagemaster is probably one of the last movies that used live action and drawn animation. A little boy ends up inside the books during a terrible storm and he has to find his way out. With the help of other books, he navigates through the genres and faces all kinds of enemies. It has everything an adventure/fantasy movie needs.
A storm forces frightened Richard Tyler (Macaulay Culkin) inside a nearby library for shelter. Mr. Dewey (Christopher Lloyd), the librarian, sees that Richard needs an adventure and tries to give the boy a book, but all Richard wants is a phone. Before he can call his parents (Ed Begley Jr., Mel Harris), Richard slips on the floor, hits his head and passes out. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a fantasy land populated by famous literary characters.
The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)
I’m a big fan of Jane Austen’s work and this movie shows why these stories are still relevant. Every member of the book club picks out one of her works and it so happens that the chosen books are mirrors to their lives. It’s a large cast and the movie has a hand full of plotlines, but it does work. Each story has enough screen time to make you bond with the characters and care for their goals.
Quirky dog-lover Jocelyn and many-time married Bernadette decide to start a book club exclusively dedicated to Jane Austen, primarily to help distract their friend Sylvia from the fact that her husband has just dumped her. Frustrated French teacher Prudie, Sylvia’s daughter Allegra and sci-fi fan Grigg join up as well.
Miss Potter (2006)
My mother had a set of Beatrix Potter books and I adored them. The paintings were cute and the stories full of mischief and fun. All the things a child likes. Renee Zellweger has the honour of playing Miss Potter in the story of the road to publication. It wasn’t easy getting your books published as a woman. Miss Potter is hardly the only movie about these difficulties. But Seeing how she handles it and how she creates her stories are inspiring.
Based on the life of early 20th-century author Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit. As a young woman, Potter rails against her parents’ wishes for her to marry and settle down. Instead, she continues to write about and draw the animals she has adored since childhood. Her early attempts to find a publisher for her children’s stories are unsuccessful, but an offer from a small firm will turn her into a literary phenomenon.
You’ve Got Mail (1999)
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, need I say more? Ok, you’re right. This one isn’t about one book. It’s about hundreds of books. And the beginning of the internet. I remember the days of dial-up internet, the sound and the excitement to find out if you’ve received mail. Even back then independent bookshops were struggling with large chains popping up. The chemistry between Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks is also wonderful to see. Definitely a romantic comedy that I could watch over and over again.
Struggling boutique bookseller Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) hates Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), the owner of a corporate Foxbooks chain store that just moved in across the street. When they meet online, however, they begin an intense and anonymous Internet romance, oblivious of each other’s true identity. Eventually, Joe learns that the enchanting woman he’s involved with is actually his business rival. He must now struggle to reconcile his real-life dislike for her with the cyber love he’s come to feel.
Julie & Julia (2009)
Julie & Julia is based on a book, but it’s also about a book. Julia Child’s cookbook. This movie (and the book later) inspired me to keep blogging. It even inspired me in taking on cooking related goals for my 101 Goals in 1001 days. It’s also one of the few movies that I keep recommending in all kinds of different lists. The movie is about cooking and inspiration, about two strong women chasing their goals. There’s a certain romance in there, but not in a sense of two people falling in love. I love how the movie shows their very different lives and how one inspires the other and they both continue to inspire many people around the world.
Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare all 524 recipes in Julia Childs’ landmark cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Intertwined with Julie’s story is the true tale of how Julia Child (Meryl Streep) herself conquered French cuisine with passion, fearlessness, and plenty of butter.
Otherwise known as the one that I forgot. But how could I? Whenever someone asks me about my favourite movie, I’ll name it. Of course, I’m talking about Whisper of the Heart (1995), an animated movie by Studio Ghibli. It’s one of those movies that always inspires me to write and chase my dreams.
Have you seen any of these movies yet? Which movies about books do you like? Leave your comments below!