The big picture

  • The “based on a true story” genre often uses real stories, such as those found in films such as B. can be seen The blind side And still water.
  • Many of these films lack care and consideration for the subject matter, reducing complex stories to simple versions that appeal to specific genres.
  • However, like movies dog day afternoon And The social network Show that true stories can be told respectfully and effectively by exploring deeper themes and societal issues. Care and meaning are critical to creating effective true story films.

The latest revelations about the true life story behind it The blind side are another example of the exploitative nature of the genre “based on a true story” in a long story. This is seemingly a never-ending problem. The blind side is both a film that is utterly hackneyed and, as we now know, advancing a story that just wasn’t true. still watera film that is essentially the film adaptation of the Amanda Knox case, was beaten up by Knox himself. The problem here is very clear. Bringing a person’s true life story to the big screen is a very tricky endeavor. Ideally, one would assume that bringing a person’s life to the big screen is a matter of good intention, be it education, inspiration, or because they are a downright fascinating person. By watching “real life” on the big screen, we learn about something bigger than a single story. Yet at the same time we are witnessing an era of film where so many people in positions of power in the studios only care about maximizing profit and notoriety. How can we balance that? Is there a way to make these movies that doesn’t just exploit real life in favor of a mediocre movie?

The Blind Side is just one example of a true story gone wrong

Image via Warner Bros.

First, you need to examine what isn’t working, and there are plenty of examples to look at. The blind side is the youngest. The True Life Story of the Super Bowl Champion Michael Oher is certainly interesting, but he claims he didn’t make any money from an Oscar-winning film that was all about him, while the family who adopted him in the film still make money from it to this day. This is the genre’s most pressing issue right now, but there’s a long history of controversial real-life adaptations.

Netflix’s dahmer was criticized by many for dramatizing the mind of a brutal serial killer while claiming it was intended for the victims. The gist of many of these movies and shows is simple. The people involved don’t really care about the story they are telling beyond the superficial level. These very complex stories are reduced to the simplest version to suit any genre into which they can be adapted. For the blind side It forces Oher’s life into sports drama without ever examining it too deeply. dahmer is just another true crime series. They lack the care and consideration needed to craft these stories properly, and suffer tremendously as a result.

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Dog Day Afternoon and The Social Network get true stories right

There are now a multitude of movies that are based on real events that are not just great movies, they take those real life stories, do them justice, and use them to talk about something even bigger. Let’s focus on a few. First we have Sidney Lumets dog day afternoon. The legendary film follows the true life story of John Wojtowicz and the bank robbery he committed to fund his wife’s sex reassignment surgery. To put things in perspective, this happened in 1972 and the film was made three years later in 1975. Chances are, this film has anything remotely respectful of the subject matter. And yet it is, because it was made with care and consideration by everyone from Lumet to its star Al Pacino. Lumet took the true life story, dramatized it and gave it the respect it deserved, while also making an incredible, terrifying film that captures the ’70s in a way no other can. It could very well have been a film dedicated to making a joke of Pacino’s character, but instead it gives him the respect he deserves as a person. At a time when America was falling apart and people were questioning the structures of the country itself, dog day afternoon reflected that, and that’s why this story was worth telling, and doing it right.

Next we have David Fincher‘S The social network, A film that tells the true life story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Rather than using it as an inspirational story, Fincher uses Zuckerberg’s life as a vehicle to examine the corrosive nature of industry and the encroachment of social media into every corner of the world. Primarily a legal thriller, Fincher analyzes how founding Facebook wasn’t as easy as it was led to believe, and how Zuckerberg’s origin story was more than just a Harvard dropout with a great idea. Beautifully captured and edited Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Score, The social network is a prime example of a true story turned Hollywood blockbuster.

Indeed, Fincher may well be one of the best modern true story filmmakers out there The social network, And zodiac, another fantastic movie based on real life. He’s not really concerned with the stories themselves, but rather with what can be found in telling them. You know what Facebook is, you know what the Zodiac murders are. What does it mean when you see the story unfold before your eyes? To see it being created on the big screen, shaped and passed on to the future? He tells them for no other reason, he didn’t make a Facebook film because everyone uses it, but because its origins and the impact it has on the product itself need to be explored. A major advance in the way true stories are presented on screen and a role model for any future filmmaker.

We will always have true stories in our cinema. To be honest, they’re a huge draw, and real life will spawn stories every second that will be picked up by the producers for the next big movie. Instead of getting rid of them or denouncing them as exploitation and nothing else, filmmakers should focus on why they want to tell stories. What’s in it for audiences to see it, aside from something they heard on the news being turned into a movie? Does it comment? Is it about something bigger, like why we care about this story in the first place? Does it examine the context that made this possible? If it doesn’t, then, frankly, it really gets close to exploitation. Michael Oher’s unfortunate situation is just another in a long line of people screwed by Hollywood. But it doesn’t have to be, and you have to keep that in mind. These movies can be exploitative, but they can also be uplifting and mesmerizing, and quite frankly, they’re some of the best movies ever made. They just need to be rotated with care. The care and sense is missing and we need to see that again.

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