What happens to a brilliant child who is entirely misunderstood by his parents? What changes inside of us when our dreams are disregarded and our potential underestimated?

These are some of the questions addressed in the new film about beloved author Paulo Coelho (who famously penned The Alchemist and a long list of other best-sellers). Paulo Coelhos Best Story is a dramatized portrayal of personal story. From the author of The Alchemist, we might expect a mystical story of epic adventure, but this might be even better; this is the story of a new mind in an old world, and all that comes with it…including plenty of adventure.

Let’s get some of the obvious points out of the way. This is an autobiographical look at legendary author Paulo Coelho’s personal journey.  It is told using multiple timelines bringing together the constantly changing dynamics of the various stages of his life, including the stifling moments in his childhood and creatively blocked moments of his early adult life, and then juxtaposing them with moments of extreme success he experienced when the popularity of his words led to his celebrity. We see him unchanged by his success, exhibiting the same stoic depth along with a disinterest in pleasantries and a simultaneous innocence and sweetness.

Maybe I’m biased, because I was able to relate so directly to Coelho’s upbringing in a world where everything was provided… with the exception of encouragement to pursue his creative passions.

Yet he finds ways to follow them anyway, with a similar dogged purpose as many of his protagonists (think about the main character in The Alchemist). In the film, we share his excited teenage grin while he eagerly opens the box containing his first typewriter. We follow Coelho through seemingly exciting years as a musician, lover, and tortured writer who can’t bring himself to even type one word on a typewriter. We spy upon his growing success, revealed in glimpses crowds of adoring fans and the patter of a gregarious chauffeur on a two-hour drive. Through this intimate portrait, we learn something about the person behind the pages and how we negotiated the path of indulgence and appreciation of the sum total of his own personal journey.

When watching this Paulo Coelhos Best Story, we know the end. At least we think we do: We do know that this man who struggled with finding his creative voice and space to express it, has to date sold more than 160 million books worldwide. We already know this while we are watching his family disregard his dreams as they frenetically attempt to uncover “what is wrong with him” for years. This man had to become himself, experience life for himself, and learn to love in a way he hadn’t been loved before.

This impeccably casted film is filled with honest performances and excellent chemistry between actors who portrayed the emotional pain as if it were their own. Which in a way, is why Coelho’s words speak to us with such resonance; we feel the desire to be heard, we long to be loved.

After watching, I found myself immediately interested in watching it again, knowing that this brilliant novelist shared more about life in the nuances of each scene than could be noticed at first glance. This film is deeply inspiring and real, beautiful and dark, tragic …but triumphant. A guaranteed classic. See it more than once.

Playing in LA at the Laemmle Music Hall through August 6 and on Amazon Instant Video.


Benjamin W. Decker, referred to by Forbes Magazine as a “legendary Hollywood PR maven,” got his start in the Los Angeles PR scene producing celebrity-driven red carpet movie premieres, concerts, gifting suites, fashion shows, galas and other special events.  A lifelong meditator, he teaches Mindfulness Meditation to private clients and executive teams, including the corporate staff at wholesome wholesaler Thrive Market. He also leads a weekly Mindfulness Meditation class at Unplug Meditation in Brentwood, CA.  https://ben-decker-5ucg.squarespace.com