When I first saw this theme 5 movies that have inspired my writing (or blogging), it stumped me. I mean, I love movies, but trying to pick some that have influenced my writing was going to be tricky. I thought about my favorite movies for a while. Some movies touch me because of their subject or the way a particular actor/actress portrays the characters. Some movies just make me laugh and that cannot be discounted. Interestingly enough, some of my favorite movies didn’t make the list for the theme today. You may not have heard of two of the movies listed here. In fact, one isn’t really a “movie” but an ABC miniseries.
Finding Neverland– This is the semi-autobiographical story of James Barrie. It tells the story of his inspiration for writing Peter Pan. I have been a huge fan of Tinkerbell for many years. She is often my muse or inspiration. I love the way the movie shows how James Barrie perceives things. In one scene, he is watching children play with a big dog and he sees a dancing bear at a circus. This is one of my favorite lines from the movie: “Porthos (the dog) dreams of being a bear, and you want to shatter those dreams by saying he’s *just* a dog? What a horrible candle-snuffing word. That’s like saying, ‘He can’t climb that mountain, he’s just a man’, or ‘That’s not a diamond, it’s just a rock.’ JUST.” I sometimes limit myself by saying I am JUST.
The Color Purple– This was the first movie that made me cry; not just little crocodile tears, but really cry. This is the story of Celie. She has a life of abuse, pain, hatred, grief and anger. She talks to God through the movie and interestingly never really gives up her faith. She finds the courage and strength to overcome the adversity in her life. She has a hope that can’t be beaten out of her or stolen from her. She has a friend who encourages her. In the process, she finds her own strong voice.
Fried Green Tomatoes– This movie focuses on several women. Idgie Threadgoode, who Evelyn Couch meets as Ninny is the central character. I relate most to Evelyn. She was raised to be a “Good Southern Girl.” She learns about Idgie’s life from the listening to stories from Ninny. She develops a wonderful camaraderie and friendship with Ninny. She learns to stand up for herself, trust in her abilities, and discover her own voice. Ninny tells her of the time Idige took the name Towanda. Evelyn follows suit and becomes, “Towanda! Righter of Wrongs, Queen Beyond Compare!” This is one of my favorite scenes from the movie:
Evelyn: I never get mad, Miss Threadgoode, never, the way I was raised, it was bad manners. Well I got mad, and it felt great. I felt like I could just beat the shit out of all those punks! Excuse my language. And then when I finish with those punks, I’ll take on all the wife beaters like Frank Bennett, machine gun their genitals, [imitates machine gun]
Evelyn Couch: eh-he-he-he-he-he! [laughs]
Evelyn Couch: Towanda will go on a rampage, I’ll slip tiny bombs into Penthouse and Playboys so they explode when you open them. I’ll ban all fashion models who weigh under 130 pounds! And I’ll give half the military budget to people over 65 and declare wrinkles sexually desirable.
Zelig– Zelig is a 1983 American film written and directed by Woody Allen. It is actually what they term a “mockumentary.” Leonard Zelig is a man who so desperately wants people to like him and to fit in, that he takes on the characteristics of strong personalities around him. He is so devoid of his own personality that he not only “acts” like the people around him, he takes on the physical characteristics, dialects, and more. Mia Farrow is his psychiatrist and helps him overcome this strange malady. He says, “I have to be a real person and make my own moral choices, even when they do require real courage. Otherwise you’re like a robot or a lizard.” I spent a lot of my life feeling like the lizard (chameleon) and changing to be whatever everyone else wanted. I didn’t share my writing because I was afraid that I might not fit in or like me.
Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase– is an ABC-Network miniseries based on When Rabbit Howls, the autobiography of Truddi Chase, a woman who after being sexually abused as a child develops DID (Dissociate Identity Disorder). Truddi worked with the film team to be sure they depicted her life properly. Oprah Winfrey was so taken by Truddi that she had her on her the show and she mentions her in her DVD collection. Now there are hundreds of movies, big screen or made for TV that show the life of some poor woman (usually) who had a terrible life. A few dare to tackle the complicated issue of Dissociate Identity Disorder or Multiple Personalities, as it was incorrectly called in the past. Most of these movies focus on the tragedy of the person’s life. What I love about this movie is the focus on the healing. She found a wonderful therapist and created a community of supporters and friends. She was brave enough to share her story because she wanted to let other people know there is healing and hope.” Her story has touched my heart at a time in my life that I needed to find courage and hope. When I knew I wanted to write and share my story, I would think about Truddi and her courage in writing her book. Truddi passed away in March 2010, and I cried on hearing of her death.