Weekly Journal

Top Movies to Inspire Creativity

Kaila Krayewski

26th April 2018

Does the thought of taking the evening off to watch a box-set send shivers down your creative fingertips? Shouldn’t they be typing, working, creating? An overactive imagination and the inability to switch off work mode are attributes that can serve the writer well. However, chill time is necessary for the creative mind, too.

The constant buzzing in your head of ideas, to-do’s and worries is a given for creatives. The beehive of your brain isn’t easily silenced and your thoughts might never leave you alone.

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Outdoor home cinema.

But did you know that getting excited and mentally stimulated by a movie can increase your blood flow, causing the blood vessels to constrict, thus sending more oxygen to your brain? This aids memory, emotional intelligence, focus and — you guessed it — creativity.

In a study by psychology professor K. Anders Ericson, a Conradi Eminent Scholar at the University of Stockholm, Sweden, it was discovered that the best performers typically work in a 90-minute cycle. Human physiology is designed to expand energy during the day in intervals lasting no more than 1.5 hours. But this cycle demands recreational time in order for us to function at our top capacity when we are active, whether it be physical or psychological action. Ignoring the signals to relax by drinking coffee, pushing your mind to the limit and chaining yourself to your desk for hours on end is likely to have a negative effect on your work.

“So why not give in to your desire to hit the sofa and Netflix and chill? Reset and release your creative focus with one of the great films from our list of inspirational movies.”

Based on the book by Erin Gruwall, this movie shines a light on the importance of the journal as a teaching method and therapeutic instrument. Erin, played by Hilary Swank, is a teacher in a school that suffers after an integration program doesn’t go as planned. The new students, some of whom are illiterate or come from violent backgrounds, struggle to fit in and soon, the whole academic enterprise begins to unravel… until Erin decides to change up the teaching tactics. The biggest lesson in this movie is tolerance. Something we could always use a bit more of.

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Marion Cotillard in Midnight in Paris (2011)

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Picasso and Gertrude Stein all make cameos in this lovely rom-com. Gil (Owen WIlson) is a struggling writer who’s about to embark on his first novel. During a trip to Paris with his fiancee Inez (Rachel McAdams), he suddenly discovers he has the ability to step back in time and experience the city in the 1920s. This movie shows the strengths of director Woody Allen’s ouvre: not only is the setting and detail fantastic, but his genuine love for writing as a profession is evident. Mr. Allen must have had fun imagining conversations with the Greats, and their tips and tricks to help Gil with his script are sometimes good, sometimes reckless. A fun movie with a big heart.

A young wannabe-journalist (Billy Crudup) is hellbent on making it as a music writer, specifically getting an article published in Rolling Stone magazine. The opportunity comes when he’s invited to tag along on tour with a famous rock band and its wild groupies. Sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll are the core principles of the bands existence at the height of the mythical ’70s music scene, and the young writer struggles to land an important interview from the bands lead singer. A great story of being young and hungry, and doing anything to get what you want. A memorable performance by a young Kate Hudson adds to the movie’s allure.

The highest grossing French movie of all time, for good reason, The Intouchables managed to break international barriers and became a worldwide sensation. Philippe (François Cluzet) is an aristocratic gentleman who has suffered an accident resulting in him being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. With a great intellect stuck in an immobile body rendering him incapable to care for himself, Philippe is bored. Until one day, when a brazen young man is hired for the role of his caretaker. Driss (Omar Sy) is from the impoverished and gang-driven French suburbs, and is brand new to the world that Philippe’s quadriplegic, millionaire life presents. A beautiful film filled with humour and impeccable acting.

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Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love (2010)

What does it take to “give up everything” and change your life? Based on the bestselling novel by the same name, this movie follows Liz Gilbert on her travels, both physically and spiritually. Empathy, trust, forgiveness, gratitude and lots of love; these are all part of the lesson learned from this easy-to-watch Julia Roberts vehicle.

Gretta (Keira Knightley) is a singer-songwriter who has been working with her boyfriend (Adam Levine) toward a mutual goal. When the boyfriend finds stardom overnight, it becomes painfully evident that the two have different values. One evening, Gretta is singing some of her material at an open mic night, when Dan (Mark Ruffalo) spots her. An old hand in the game, Dan is a music producer, and the duo begin a journey together toward creative fulfilment. A warm and inspiring movie, with James Corden making a cameo as Gretta’s friend from home in New York.

This stylized documentary delves into the mysteries surrounding J.D Salinger. A notoriously private person, despite the fame brought him from the success of Catcher in the Rye, rumours of CIA involvement, his relationships with young female fans and the impact of his words on tragic events all fuel the fire that is the legend of Salinger. Informative and compelling, featuring interviews with many of his famous friends. A little extra knowledge on the author who wrote one of our favourite books just feels advisable.

What happens when your characters become too real? As in, truly, really, alive? Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) is an author struggling to finish her latest novel. On the other side of town, Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) leads a boring life as an IRS tax professional. One day, Harold begins hearing a voice in his head, narrating everything he does with eerie accuracy, while odd things start happening. With the help of a literary professor (Dustin Hoffman), Harold sets out to find the person who is narrating his life. An interesting plot that gives new meaning to the concept of killing your darlings.

Written by:
Alexia Bergstrom is a Swedish writer, currently working on her debut novel. Follow her cheeky adventures on instagram @thealexicat and on her blog, www.theAlexicat.com

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