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Marc Lawrence’s The Rewrite (2014) is absolutely delightful. Of course, your chances of enjoying it are higher if you like Hugh Grant and/or Marisa Tomei, romantic comedies that aren’t like every other romantic comedy and movies about writers. Not to mention, the cast includes J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney. J.K. Simmons’ loving but tough/sentimental (you need to see it) character provides a hilarious contrast to his Oscar-winning, ruthless role in Whiplash.
I’m a fan of the genre, director/writer (Mark Lawrence) and the cast. And as a screenwriter (aspiring, but still), I do have a weakness for movies featuring screenwriters and their world.
Isn’t it also great the 50-something protagonist is only 4 years older than the love interest?
So why do I recommend the movie to (screen)writers in particular? Let’s start with the plot:
The Rewrite Plot Summary
Oscar-winning screenwriter Keith Michaels (Hugh Grant) is far from his glory days. He hasn’t been able to sell something in ages and is forced to take a screenwriting teaching gig in a cloudy, small town to pay the bills.
Moreover, he seems totally wrong for the job: He doesn’t believe great writing can be taught, starts a relationship with a young student (not Marisa Tomei) before his first day and pisses off the head of the ethics committee Mary Weldon (Allison Janney). Not to mention, he doesn’t even read the scripts of the students.
But thanks to the threats of Weldon and help of his new-comer student Holly (Marisa Tomei), Keith starts teaching and turns out to be pretty good.
You can guess that his involvement with the younger student will cause trouble, and he will fall in love with Tomei’s character.
But it’s the fun and honest journey of a desperate, formerly successful screenwriter getting his groove back, helping out a talented student and getting to love again that intrigues us.
The dialogue is truly funny. One of my favorite lines:
Dr. Lerner (J.K.Simmons): I have a wife and four daughters. I have no opinion.
Why Writers Need to See The Rewrite
– It sums up feast-famine, glory-failure, and acceptance-rejection cycles pretty well.
– It shows that we won’t have a gorgeous house by the pool with movie deals at all stages of our career, and why it is okay.
– It shows that helping other writers is not just good karma, but it will inspire and motivate us.
– It shows that not all good jobs look alike.
– And last but not least, despite our tendency to shut down and be on our own, we need our kind of people to make all those cycles, and life in general be more bearable.
I honestly don’t care if you like Hugh Grant or not. If you are a writer, and especially a screenwriter, you should give this movie a shot.
Have fun, and don’t forget to comment to talk about your favorite movies with writer characters.