12 Must-Watch Movies for Fans Who Can’t Stop Listening to “The Tortured Poets Department”

These days, I am genuinely afraid of little old me, given my tireless routine of eating, breathing, sleeping, and listening to The Tortured Poets Department on repeat. It seems that I am not alone in my insanity given that Taylor Swift’s latest record has remained the number one album on the Billboard 200 list for the last two weeks.

Taylor Swift in a ruffled dress in the "Fortnight" music video

Taylor Swift/Republic Records / Via giphy.com

In the name of TTPD, I’ve created a finely crafted list of films that, in my opinion, radiate all things tortured poets, typewriters, and wavering sanity.

Taylor Swift typing on a typewriter in the "Fortnight" music video

Taylor Swift/Republic Records / Via giphy.com

With that said, this list is curated for Swifties and Swifties alone! Non-Swifties wouldn’t last an hour in the asylum that is this album…or this collection of films, for that matter. Let’s begin.

1.Dead Poets Society

The boys in "Dead Poets Society" saying "Oh captain, my captain"

Perhaps the most on-the-nose movie to grace our list is Dead Poets Society, the acclaimed film about a free-thinking English teacher and his students released in the year of our reigning queen, 1989. Following a group of boys who reinstate an old poetry club at their strict private school, this coming-of-age flick tackles love, loss, and breaking free of societal expectations to pursue happiness. Unsurprisingly, these themes are found across TTPD. Swift herself even nods to the film in the “Fortnight” music video which features ex-Dead Poets Society members, Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles.

Touchstone Pictures / Via tenor.com

Watch the trailer below:

2.Black Swan

Natalie Portman dancing in "Black Swan"

Speaking of “Fortnight,” Taylor’s aesthetic in this music video is reminiscent of Black Swan, from the haunting eye makeup to the black-and-white coloration of the video itself. This movie chronicles the downfall of Nina, a dedicated ballerina who becomes dangerously entangled in her art. Throughout the film, Nina feels stifled under the eye of her super strict mom, similar to lyrics we hear in tracks like “But Daddy I Love Him” and “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” referencing feeling caged. Nina becomes tortured by her craft and slowly descends into madness — not unlike the imagery seen throughout the “Fortnight” video.

Fox Searchlight Pictures / Via tenor.com

Watch the trailer below:

3.10 Things I Hate About You

Kat reading her poem in "10 Things I Hate About You"

Starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger, 10 Things I Hate About You is a romantic comedy based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. It’s only fitting to have a rendition of one of The Bard’s works on our list, and this modernized version tells the story of “bad boy” Patrick who begins pursuing his studious classmate, Kat, after he’s paid to. After real feelings develop, Kat discovers their romance started as a rouse, and the film ends with her reciting a poem called “10 Things I Hate About You” which is basically the same thing as “I love you, it’s ruining my life.”

Touchstone Pictures / Via giphy.com

Watch the trailer below:

4.High School Musical

Troy knows how to ball. Gabriella knows Aristotle. It doesn’t get more fitting than a “So High School”/High School Musical parallel. Written about one Travis Kelce, this lighthearted TTPD track talks about that giddy love that makes you feel like a teenager. While Travis might not be singing “Get’cha Head in the Game” anytime soon, it’s a total romp to watch this musical franchise from start to finish.

Walt Disney Pictures / Via giphy.com

Watch the trailer below:

5.Little Women

Jo March in Greta Gerwig's "Little Women" film

“I care more to be loved. I want to be loved,” says Jo March in Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation of the famous Louisa May Alcott novel, Little Women. In this particular scene, Jo laments that she does not love Laurie the way he loves her, but, despite this, still feels a deep and depressing loneliness. As a writer who is ahead of her time, Jo spends much of Little Women storytelling as a way to cope with the messy world of adulthood. There are plenty of typewriters and tortured poets in this classic tale with a bit of girl power to boot.

Columbia Pictures / Via giphy.com

Watch the trailer below:

6.Gone Girl

After discovering her husband’s infidelity, Gone Girl‘s Amy Dunne fakes her death and frames her husband for murder to get back at him. This behavior is positively reeking of “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” as the song features lyrics like “If you wanted me dead, / you should’ve just said” and “Who’s afraid of little old me? / Well, you should be.” I’d also argue this movie has a dash of “Florida!!!” because Amy seems like the type of lady who might flee to Florida while running from the law.

20th Century Fox / Via tenor.com

Watch the trailer below:

7.Kill Bill (Volumes 1 & 2)

Group of characters from the film "Kill Bill" standing menacingly

I’m not saying Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies are Taylor Swift-coded but…Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) does have a list of names, red, underlined. In both films, she is out for revenge, determined to hunt down a group of assassins who tried to kill her and her unborn child at the command of Bill — her boss/baby daddy. Bill embodies the treacherous man described in “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can),” while Beatrix is more of an “I Can Do It with a Broken Heart” gal. She cries a lot but is very productive in crossing names off that list, proving that you really can do it with a broken heart!

Miramax Films / Via giphy.com

Watch the trailer below:

8.Rebel Without a Cause

James Dean and Natalie Wood in "Rebel Without A Cause"

Jim Stark has that James Dean look in his eye…mostly because he is played by James Dean himself. In the famous 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause, Jim moves to a sleepy suburban town where he quickly develops a big reputation as a local troublemaker. He falls for Judy, who is in her “I’m telling him to floor it through the fences, / no, I’m not coming to my senses, / I know he’s crazy but he’s the one I want” era, and these two misunderstood souls must navigate life.

Warner Bros. Pictures / Via giphy.com

Watch the trailer below:

9.Pride & Prejudice

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in the 2005 "Pride & Prejudice" film

In a world where Pride & Prejudice is set in 2024, Mr. Darcy would self-identify as a tortured poet. There’s a good chance he would secretly be down bad crying at the gym because Elizabeth called him the smallest man she ever knew — despite her “Guilty as Sin?” daydreams. This slow-burn romance is full of angst, pining, and melodramatic brooding. Very tortured.

Focus Features / Via tenor.com

Watch the trailer below:

10.The Little Mermaid

Ariel in "The Little Mermaid" singing "I want more"

For those of us who grew up in Disney households, it was immediately evident that the track, “But Daddy I Love Him” found inspiration from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Swift’s song talks about a dutiful daughter getting caught up in a whirlwind romance with a man the whole town disapproves of…a not-so-far cry from Ariel’s desire to be with Prince Eric, despite her family’s dislike of humans.

Walt Disney Pictures / Via giphy.com

Watch the trailer below:

11.Peter Pan

Peter Pan leading Wendy and her brothers in flight over London

Similarly, Swift nods to another fairytale by way of the Anthology track, “Peter.” This song appears to be from the perspective of an adult Wendy who is lamenting about a boy she knew as a child. The lyrics are full of odes to the original Peter Pan story, referencing lost boys, waiting at a window, growing up, and, heartbreakingly, childhood promises broken in adulthood.

Walt Disney Pictures / Via giphy.com

Watch the trailer below:

12.Wicked

Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba in the 2024 film adaptation of "Wicked"

Yes, the movie adaption of Wicked has not yet hit theaters, but I am preemptively adding this film to the list. Upon listening to “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” the song’s theatrical nature and story of a “tame” woman who was hurt by the world so badly she turned “mean” reminded me of misunderstood villains such as Elphaba. In the Wicked musical, Elphaba is kindhearted until society’s hate for her turns her angry and spiteful. Also, “levitating down the street” sounds an awful lot like defying gravity.

Universal Pictures / Via tenor.com 

Watch the trailer below:

Share the movies you would add to this list in the comments!

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