Popularity doesn’t mean excellence, and the following true-to-life movies are testaments to this statement. They’re tailored to near-perfection by directors who are not lucky enough to have the “fat wallet privilege”, yet the films turned out to be so amazing. Which among these can be called as the best unpopular true to life movie?
City of God
Directed by: Fernando Meirelles/Katia Lund
Breathtaking and terrifying, it dynamically involves its characters. Upon its release, it announces a new director of great gifts and passions. TIME magazine chose it as one of the 100 greatest films of all time. – not bad for a film who didn’t get a major Hollywood release. Critic Roger Ebert gave the film a four-star review, writing “‘City of God’ churns with furious energy as it plunges into the story of the slum gangs of Rio de Janeiro. Such a quote really fits the tagline of the movie’s that says, “If you run, the beast catches you; if you stay, the beast eats you”, a proverb that is in resonance to the English “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
The film depicts the story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old from Hayward, California, and the events on the last day of his life, before he was fatally shot by law enforcers in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day of the year 2009. The film includes actual amateur footage of the incident — something which the director himself had a hard time deciding about. Although some critics criticize the narrative as something that omits key information, while fabricating other scenes, in order to manipulate viewers into a distorted impression of what happened, critical consensus states: “Passionate and powerfully acted, Fruitvale Station serves as a celebration of life, a condemnation of death, and a triumph for star Michael B. Jordan.
Love & Mercy
Directed by: Bill Pohlad
Slate magazine wrote in its analysis of the film’s factual side and fiction side: “While Love & Mercy makes some perhaps necessary adjustments to simplify the musician’s story, the film is generally quite meticulous in its presentation of the events of the lead character’s life. It is about Brian Wilson, a young songwriter in the 60s who finds himself in the midst of extraordinary success after scoring numerous hit records with The Beach Boys – one of the biggest bands then. It grossed $28.6 million over a $10 million budget, not really a huge success, but the critical acclaim it got was fantastic.It was highly praised for its unorthodox style and for its superbly factual approach.
The Devil and Daniel Johnston
Directed by: Jeff Feuerzeig
Also about a musician’s life like Love and Mercy, it is a documentary film about the noted American musician Daniel Johnston. It chronicles his life from childhood up to his most recent engagement with his passions and the media that surrounds him. It shows an emphasis on his experiences with bipolar disorder, and how it manifested itself in demonic self-obsession, which led him to into doing things that made him the object of ridicule by his fans and even by his friends. When reading a summary of the movie’s reviews, it would be stated as: “Whether you think this mentally ill cult musician is worthy of being called a ‘genius’, this document of his life is crafted with sincere respect and is fascinating to watch“.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Directed by: Julian Schnabel
It is a biographical drama film which opens as Jean-Dominique Bauby, the lead character wakes from his three-week coma in a hospital in Berck-sur-Mer, France. After an initial, over-optimistic analysis from one doctor, a neurologist explains that he has locked-in syndrome an extremely rare condition in which the patient is almost completely physically paralyzed, but remains mentally normal. Although the movie appears to be confusing at first, it actually unravels to be a compelling masterpiece. The film received universal acclaim from critics. The general statement about the movie is that it has breathtaking visuals and dynamic performances that make The Diving Bell and the Butterfly a powerful biopic.
The End of the Tour
Directed by: James Ponsoldt
A movie which critics say, was elevated by two extraordinary actors, it is best viewed with your best friend at your side. The story revolves around Writer David Lipsky who is dismayed to hear about the suicide of novelist David Foster Wallace, whom he had interviewed over a period of days twelve years earlier. Furthering on with a narrative laced with friendship, creativity and jealousy, the film has been honored in numerous “Best of 2015” lists. Why it was hailed as such is because it was so brilliantly performed, very smartly written, and nicely shot in unconventional means. Analysts further say that the film pays fitting tribute to a singular talent while offering profoundly poignant observations on the human condition.
Directed by: Bart Layton
It was nominated for six British Independent Film Awards, for Best Film, Best Director, Best Debut Director, Best Technical Achievement- Editing, Best Achievement in Production, and Best Documentary. Such nominations are exactly why it received an almost universal critical acclaim. As a documentary film, it tells the events about the 1997 case of the French trickster Frédéric Bourdin, who impersonated Nicholas Barclay, a Texas boy who disappeared at the age of 13 in 1994. What makes the character compelling is that he invites sympathy. He has this childlike quality about him, and he can be very charming. At other times, he can be quite repellent, because he can be remorseless which can make the viewer delve into a love-hate scenario as the movie progresses.
Directed by: Olivier Nakache/Éric Toledano
Crafted after the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his French-Algerian caregiver Abdel Sellou,it is a French movie which was one of the reasons why the term “buddy comedy” became even more popular in mainstream cinema. The story of the friendship which serves as the main plot device between the two men is told as a flashback – a style that makes the film interestingly captivating. The film was voted the cultural event of 2011 in France. The best reason for it being chosen as such, seems to be that it gives the audience permission to laugh with, not at, people with disabilities, and see their lives as they have never seen them before.
Directed by: Larysa Kondracki
At the time of its theatrical release, The Whistleblower received mixed reviews. Consequently though, The Guardian’s Ed Vulliamy called the movie “the most searing drama-documentary of recent years”, while The Huffington Post’s Marshall Fine said the story was “dark, grim, and harrowing.” The director shows great promise with her direction. The pacing can be seen as tight for the most part, and the film feels well polished. As a movie inspired by true events, it did trigger some negative comments from the real people involved, which made it even more attractive for moviegoers.
Directed by: Samantha Futerman/Ryan Miyamoto
The film’s screenplay opens with an explanation to the audience about a crazy story that happened a few days previously. It introduces the lead character’s family and explains that she received a friend request on Facebook from a stranger, and when she looks at the account’s profile picture she sees her own face looking back at her. The movie is a documentary film, which covers the true-life story of those identical twin sisters who were separated at birth and was reunited by social media. Discovering each other on-line, they decided to meet, confirm their identity with a DNA test, and continued to explore aspects of their background together.
Which among these should be ranked as No. 1?