Paulo Coelho’s Best Story is a biographical intense drama about the Brazilian novelist and lyricist, Paulo Coelho, who ultimately became one of the most influential writers in Brazilian history. The biopic chronicles the writer’s rebellious and troubled life through three important time periods between youth and adulthood, maturity and spiritual-artistic evolution. It ultimately leads up to the 25th anniversary party for his world renowned novel The Alchemist, a book which has been translated in over 80 languages and has sold more than 165 million copies.
Beginning from his youth in the 60s, Paulo was misunderstood by his conservative and artistically-repressed father who denied his desires as a writer, committing him to a psychiatric ward twice where the teen tried to commit suicide and was drugged and treated as “confused”.
Refusing even to buy him a typewriter, Paulo’s father, Pedro, rejected all attempts at artistic expression deeming them unstable which ultimately led him to run away in pursuit of truth and authentic spiritual freedom. The pain of his youth is emotionally transmitted throughout the duration of this film making it hard to watch, as the creative process of portraying this story takes us back and forth between youth and adulthood.
Ultimately moving in with his grandparents, Paulo’s life eventually moves towards different artistic venues where he begins to receive success and recognition in writing screenplays and music. His anger, rebellion and passion gives way to a voice that would soon become hard to ignore. His life becomes wild and out of control with drugs, sex, religion and women together with an internal fire and strong spiritual belief that stopped him from conforming to anything else. Spiritual phrases of faith and determination are depicted throughout the film keeping Paulo on track towards true artistic success and actualization. Ultimately, his father recognizes his son’s deep calling as a successful recording artist (and later novelist) and their relationship is emotionally reconciled. Strong inspirational messages such as “believing in miracles is what makes them happen,” “it’s the disciple who chooses his master,” “a magic oath is a link between human consciousness and divine consciousness” and “if you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it” send the ultimate message to never give up on your dreams.
As a writer and artist, I was emotionally captured by this film’s message as well as angered by the fact that conservative society will stop at nothing to stifle the dreams of creative expression. Few have the tenacity, drive and unstoppable passion of a legend such as Paulo Coelho, but hopefully many can retain this important film’s message of hope and perseverance to stay true and strong to the voice within.