9 Movies You Can Watch To Celebrate National Poetry Month Instead Of, You Know, Reading

Sorry, not sorry.

In celebration of April being National Poetry Month, we thought we'd share with you a way to celebrate the artform without actually having to read or write any yourself.

Now, we're not advocating for you to avoid hunkering down with a book of your favorite poet's work or trying your hand at crafting some verses, we just think that it's the 21st century and there are plenty of ways to celebrate this beloved style of writing.

Orson Welles once said, "A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet." While the famous multihyphenate may have been talking about filmmaking in a general sense and not the written language inspiring it, it still applies if you really think about it. If filmmakers who make movies based on poetry don't handle the source material the way it should be treated, the end result can be a mess.

Films can evoke the same emotion and passion as the written word if treated with care. So, since we live in the age of "Netflix and chill," what better way to spend National Poetry Month than by tackling our list of the nine poetry-related movies you should watch on your own or with friends?

Here we go:

"The Basketball Diaries" (1995)

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this film about Jim Carroll, depicting the poet and artist's reckless youth, and the writing that would help give him clarity. It's based on Carroll's 1978 autobiography of the same name, which drew from his collection of diaries kept between the ages of 12 and 16, depicting everything from his sexual experiences, his addiction to heroin that began at 13, and his high school basketball career.

The Basketball Diaries is available for purchase on DVD at Amazon.

"Bright Star" (2009)

Bright Star focuses on the final three years of poet John Keats (played by Ben Whishaw) and his love affair with young socialite named Fanny Brawne (played by Abbie Cornish). Directed by Jane Campion, the swoon-worthy film shows these two lovebirds fall completely in love with each other. In addition to being enamored with the romantic exchange between the two characters, you'll get lost in the stunning scenery and costumes.

Bright Star is available for purchase on iTunesYouTubeAmazon VideoVudu, and Google Play.

"Dead Poets Society" (1989)

This beloved Robin Williams film features the funnyman as an English teacher named John Keating at an all-boys prep school on the East Coast. Keating inspires his students, teaches them life lessons, and helps them discover a love of poetry. The film features poems from the likes of Robert Frost to William Shakespeare, but Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" is at the heart of it (check out the scene above). Proving just how much they adore their teacher, Keating's students — led by a young Ethan Hawke — recite this poem in solidarity when Keating is banished from the school.

Dead Poets Society is available for purchase at iTunes, YouTube, Amazon Video, Vudu, and Google Play.

"Howl" (2010)

Howl features James Franco as Allen Ginsberg and focuses on the titular poem "Howl" — how it was composed, how the public reacted to it, and how it was the center of an obscenity trail in 1957. Franco nails playing the famous Beat poet and the illustrated representations of the poem are quite intriguing.

Howl is available for purchase on iTunesYouTubeAmazon Video, and Google Play.

"Mulan" (1998)

No, this isn't a mistake. This Disney movie is actually based on an ancient Chinese poem titled "The Ballad of Mulan." Like the film, the source material tells the tale of a young woman named Hau Mulan, who takes her father's place in the Chinese army. She fights bravely and fiercely for her family and her country and, in the end, returns home. Come for the catchy songs and stay for the historic girl power.

Mulan is available to watch on Hulu.

"The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993)

This adored stop-motion fantasy-musical film is actually based on Tim Burton's 1982 poem of the same name (listen to that above). Follow Jack Skellington as he tries to rally his spooky-looking friends from Halloween Town to take over Christmas after a chance visit to Christmas Town. Things go awry and our well-meaning protagonist, who kidnapped Santa to take over his gig, ends up having to right his wrongs to fix everything and save the holiday for the whole world.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is available to watch on Netflix.

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (2000)

O Brother, Where Art Thou? might not strike you as poetic at first, but if you look at its story, you'll see that it is loosely based on Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey." While "The Odyssey" was set in ancient Greece after the Trojan War, this George Clooney-led movie is set in 1937 rural Mississippi and features some memorable bluegrass-inspired tunes.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? is available to watch on Netflix.

"Paterson" (2016)

This film follows a week in the life of Paterson, a New Jersey bus driver and aspiring poet, who makes little observations about his daily life — from the wins to the losses — finding beauty in the everyday and ordinary things. Paterson has a daily routine of writing poetry in his notebook as he does even the most mundane tasks, finding support from his wife (played by Golshifteh Farahani).

Paterson is available for purchase on YouTube, Amazon Video, and Google Play.

"Poetry" (2010)

Poetry, with an on-the-nose title, follows a sixtysomething woman (played by Yoon Jeong-hee) who finds the strength to go on — after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's and a crime involving her disobedient grandson — when she enrolls in a poetry class. It's quite the emotional story and really dives into one woman's moral compass, leaving you with unanswered questions as it draws to a close.

Poetry is available for purchase at Amazon Video and Vudu.


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