Biopics remain a universal staple of every year’s slate of new releases. They can be inconsistent, but even in 2022, audiences get excited to see upcoming portrayals of Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson. Even the critically divided Bohemian Rhapsody, featuring Rami Malek and Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, is beloved by audiences despite wild inaccuracies. In preparation for the new biopics of the year, let’s steer away from the made-up stories toward the ones praised for their accuracy.
Oliver Hirschbiegel’s direction of Hitler’s final days was immediately highlighted by history professors as the best portrayal of its subject. Despite the controversy on the depiction, the film received rave reviews.
Director Steven Spielberg can do no wrong, nor can the choice leading man, Daniel Day-Lewis. The look of the film, combined with Tony Kushner’s screenplay, is nearly faultless.
Race films are easy to embellish with drama and tinges of fiction, but Rush stands out as a major exception. Even the real-life version of one of the characters, Niki Lauda (played by Daniel Brühl), praised the film’s unusual approach for taking the route of accuracy over Hollywood spectacle.
‘12 Years a Slave’ (2014)
As a passion project for director Steve McQueen and screenwriter John Ridley, the 12 Years a Slave crew gave Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir a proper depiction through an exceptional amount of research into the era.
David McCandless, who runs the website Information Is Beautiful, did a scene-for-scene analysis of Selma and remarkably found the film to be 100% accurate.
‘Bridge of Spies’ (2015)
Another Spielberg film that took few creative liberties in a genre that is stereotypically known for embellishing its subject.
‘The Big Short’ (2016)
Reviewers praised Adam McKay’s sudden transition into drama for his bright, literate accessibility to such a complex subject.
Happy watching, knowing these films are at least 80% true to their real-life inspiration!