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Literary Cinema: 10 Movies for Book Lovers

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • July 28, 2022

As book lovers, we often say that the book is always better than the movie adaptation. But what about bookish movies that aren't adaptations? There are many films that simply celebrate books and authors. From imaginative biopics about famous authors to adventure stories featuring lit lovers to flights of fancy about how art imitates life, here are ten movies that will delight readers.


This quirky meta film by screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is based on his real-life struggles to adapt Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief while suffering from writer's block. It combines elements from the book with fictional flourishes. The all-star cast includes Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper.

Shakespeare in Love

Little is known about The Bard's biography. This delightful romantic comedy starring Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow takes some liberties with the facts in imagining a romance for the playwright, but we love it! And if you're interested in a slightly more accurate imagining of Shakespeare's life, try this gorgeous novel.

Book Club

Lifelong friends Diane (Diane Keaton), Vivian (Jane Fonda), Sharon (Candice Bergen), and Carol (Mary Steenburgen) choose to read Fifty Shades of Grey for their book club. The infamously racy novel catapults the four pals, all facing various lovelife difficulties, into a series of outrageous life choices.

You've Got Mail

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan rekindle their Sleepless In Seattle chemistry in this crowd pleaser about anonymous email cyberpals who fall head-over-laptops for each other. Unfortunately, IRL they are dueling business owners—she an independent bookseller, while he opens a mega-bookstore around the corner.

Finding Neverland

Set in early 20th century England, the story follows J. M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) as he befriends a widow (Kate Winslet) and her young sons while writing his play, Peter Pan. This touching and playful film shows how the story mirrors Barrie's own life and brings the magic of writing to life.

Romancing the Stone

Romance novelist Joan (Kathleen Turner) leaves the comfort of her safe (yet staid) New York City life for the wilds of Colombia where her sister is being held for ransom. As she makes her way through the jungle with gangsters in pursuit, she joins forces with roguish mercenary Jack (Michael Douglas).

Moonrise Kingdom

Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, this nostalgic charmer centers on tweens Suzy and Sam, who run away together—toting Suzy's suitcase full of stolen library books. The star-studded cast includes Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Frances McDormand.

The Proposal

As the executive editor-in-chief of a New York book publishing company, Margaret (Sandra Bullock) lives for her job. A Canadian citizen, she learns she's on the verge of being deported so she compels her much-abused assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) into getting engaged so that she can get a green card.


Starring Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, and Jim Broadbent, this is the true life story of novelist-philosopher Iris Murdoch. At the heart of this film is Murdoch's longtime love affair with husband, John Bayley, who quietly supported his wife through everything, including her battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

Midnight in Paris

Aspiring novelist Gil (Owen Wilson) is visiting Paris with his materialistic fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. As he struggles, in both his writing and relationship, he finds himself transported each night back to 1920s Paris, among such luminaries as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein, and others.

Sure, reading may be our favorite pastime, but we can all use a little variety in our entertainment. These films are packed with literary fun for all of us bookish types.

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