Journals have played their part in movies. Not just tiny props, either. A journal can push forward the plot, drive characters insane (or demonstrate the character’s insanity), or be magical on its own. Today, we’re going to talk about some movies where journals (or diaries) played a large part of the story.
John Doe wrote some crazy stuff in his journals about the seven deadly sins. What do you expect from a serial killer whose journals are brought to the fore from the opening credits? The images from the journals were freaky and disturbing in their own right, cementing the crazy. Even the creation process of the journals as props delved into intense levels of detail. Full movie review here.
Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)
This is a story of Bridget Jones, a woman who’s been spiraling out of control. She wants to gain her life back, and she decides to use her diary to track the changes. She swears that he will be absolutely honest in the diary, and that’s the only rule. Here, the diary serves as a vehicle for exposition and a source for comedy. Full movie review here.
Mean Girls (2004)
Remember the Burn Book? That’s definitely a form of journaling, though not a nice one. In the movie, the Mean Girls write lewd, crude, and crass things about the other girls in their high school in the Burn Book. They put a picture of the girl in the book, then write epithets around it. This type of book goes a little more toward being a scrapbook than a journal, but as you know there are all types of journals out there. It’s certainly mean, though! Full movie review here.
Think of high school as this tiny microcosm of society, complete with some of the best and worst people that you can find. The journal in this movie plays a part of exposition for Veronica’s feelings. The statement ‘my teen angst has a body count’ still brings a smile to some people’s faces, even with its dark implications. This is one of Winona Ryder’s best works. Full movie review here.
Harriet the Spy (1996)
What happens when you’re a spy and someone starts reading the secret notebook that you’ve been writing in? What if you want to keep being a spy? That’s the dilemma that Harriet faced. Journals are useful for ideas, for secret thoughts, for making connections, and for writing down important ‘spy’ stuff. Just remember that people will be curious if you’re always carrying around your secret book! Full movie review here.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
What if your journal could talk back to you? What if it was infused with part of the soul of a dark and malevolent wizard? What if it were sympathetic, responding kindly to you when you complained about the day? That was Tom Riddle’s diary, the diary transformed into a horcrux. The journal was something magical and special, something that even the young at heart wish could happen in the real world. Full movie review here.
Here is the scene in the movie with Tom Riddle’s diary.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
To many, this is the best of the Indiana Jones movies because it pairs Harrison Ford with Sean Connery. They are on the quest for the Holy Grail, and the diary serves as the map and key to not only finding it but getting past the challenges that await them. Many artists have replicated this art diary because it’s extremely enjoyable to look at, and there’s is quite a lot of beauty within its pages. Full movie review here.
Whether your journal is a magical tome imbued with the spirit of someone long gone or it is simply a chance to vent, journals still play an important part in our daily lives. We chose these seven from quite a large list – are there some which you think should be included? Tell us in the comments.