Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

The Real Story: For All Those “Based On” and “Inspired By” Movies

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times is in the business of reporting the facts.  And sometimes those facts result in “based on” or “inspired by” movies that have only a homeopathic relationship to what really happened yet are marketed as though they are close to journalism.

Often, in these films, accuracy is sacrificed for drama. But do the makers of films claiming to be based on or inspired by real stories have an allegiance to the truth, or just to the art of storytelling?

The Times invited a screenwriter, an historian, and some critics to talk about the issues raised by some of the most recent “fact-based” movies and it is a fascinating discussion.  Screenwriter Pamela Katz wrote:

Advertisement

The facts of any life, of any story, must be honored. But they are like keys on a piano that can be played in a variety of ways until the melody captures the subject truthfully. One must be factually accurate about the important events of someone’s life, but if the film doesn’t illuminate something essential about their life, work and personality, then you have failed to tell the truth.  But that, in a way, is also faithful to the truth.

For example, in the movie Katz wrote about Hannah Arendt,

the speech she gives at the end of the movie was based largely upon Arendt’s own writings, but it is not a speech she actually gave. She spoke to students and others in response to the controversy, but these talks were not recorded. We listened to other speeches that were recorded to capture her public speaking style, but ultimately the actress, Barbara Sukowa, made it her own. It seems to have worked, since people sometimes tell Sukowa they were present when Arendt gave “that” speech.

Advertisement

Chasing the Frog is a terrific resource for all questions about what really happened in all those “based on a true story” and “inspired by a true story” movies, from “The Butler” to “The Conjuring,” and even some unexpected story-behind-the-stories like “The Big Lebowski” and “Bloodsport.” It’s especially fun to see the pictures of the real people who inspired these stories. h/t Mark Jenkins — Thanks!

Previous Posts

Contest: Win a DVD of Minnie's Pet Salon!
Minnie Mouse has a new business -- a pet salon!  And I have a copy to give away. All the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse friends are bringing their pets ...

posted 2:52:11pm May. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Ashley Judd Movie, "Big Stone Gap," Coming This Fall
Picturehouse will be releasing "Big Stone Gap" this fall. It was filmed on location in Virginia and stars Ashley Judd as Ave Maria Mulligan, who ...

posted 12:29:56pm May. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Illuminate Film Festival
The Illuminate Film Festival opens today in Sedona, Arizona. Its mission is to be the premier film festival for "conscious cinema." Dedicated to spreading enlightened ideas and pushing humanity forward, Illuminate is poised to become a ...

posted 7:00:43am May. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: "Mike and Molly's" Billy Gardell on "Dancer and the Dame"
Billy Gardell, star of television's Mike & Molly, talked to me about his new film, Dancer & The Dame. He plays Rick Dancer. "He was once like a ...

posted 3:31:07pm May. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: The Search for Freedom
[iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/121174641" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0"] This new documentary tells the stories of the athletes who seek the freedom that comes from living in the moment and doing what makes us feel the ...

posted 12:19:02pm May. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.