The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hagiography, biography

When my parents were over here, they suggested The Imitation Game - a biopic about Alan Turing. I've seen one or two of these Turing pieces on the telly during my time on this blessed Earth, so I got a bad feeling about it. I insisted instead on Theory of Everything, about Stephen Hawking. And whaddaya know. I was right. The Turing pic was yet another martyrology about that borderline paedobear; the Hawking pic adhered closer to fact.

Some producers are out to showcase their political views. Others say, to hell with THAT, we care about the guy whose story we're telling, and we're going to tell the story that is true to the subject.

Another example (on the Right) would be God Isn't Dead. At the end I sat through a lot of scrolling text about Christians being persecuted on campus. I'm sure that Christians found it very moving; but that wasn't what I saw in the movie. The movie was, thus, a fictionalisation of these events. The Imitation Game is, similarly, a fictionalisation of Turing's career professional and personal.

As for real biopics, I recommend Control about Joy Division's frontman Ian Curtis. Nobody finishes the movie thinking that Curtis was a wonderful husband and father, or even a good person. They do however finish it with some basic understanding of what Curtis suffered through with his epilepsy and depression. Theory of Everything likewise gives us some understanding of what Hawking's disease did to him and to his own family. Whether Hawking handled it all better than did Curtis isn't really the point here. The point is that the movies are faithful to their subjects, showing us what they accomplished, what they suffered, and how they met their own personal challenges - for good or ill.

With biopics you really do have to read the reviews in advance. Carefully.


posted by Zimri on 19:05 | link | 0 comments

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