|Whisper of the Heart, 1995|
In the movie, 14-year-old Shizuku lives to read fairy tales and write new lyrics to her favorite songs. When she finds all of her favorite books have been checked out of the library by the same boy, she imagines a romantic ideal of her "Prince of Books." When she meets the real Seiji, she finds him infuriating and but more complicated than she imagined. Seiji longs to become an apprentice violin maker, and when he leaves for Italy, Shizuku vows to write a story of her own to become an artist with the same dedication by the time he returns.
The movie was a funny, touching portrayal of awkward adolescent love, but also a realistic portrait of Shizuku as an aspiring writer. Shizuku works tirelessly to finish her first novel, and when she does, she's afraid to show it to Seiji's grandfather. She's crushed when he tells her it needs work, but mostly frustrated because her words fall short of her imagination. But she decides to study and revise until the story until it matches her vision.
I loved this portrayal of the life of a young writer. I don't usually enjoy books about aspiring writers, but the translation to another medium made the theme less solipsistic. So I've been thinking about some iconic film portrayals of writers -- Adaptation, Barton Fink, The Shining, Misery, Romancing the Stone, and more recently, Young Adult. I decided that of all them, Shizuku's experience is most like my own, and for that, I'm grateful. Only Kathleen Turner seems to be having fun in any of those other movies.
What movies do you think best portray your life as a writer or reader? Which are most or least realistic?