25 February 2006


I think that movies "based on a true story" may mislead some to believe they are "a true story." But that is not what the subtitle says, nor is that what the movie is. In fact a true story, based on known and verifiable facts is almost never appropriate for a blockbuster type movie. The writers are always interpreting the lives of those they depict. All the non-public scenes probably never really happened, or if so, happened very differently from the way depicted.

That is all well and good except when these movies are the sole source of one's knowledge on the character. Indeed, without A Beautiful Mind, few non-economists would know about John Nash. And much of what I envision about Mozart comes from Amadeus. I don't see this as a huge problem as these movies are not a substitute for serious scholarship. But when people start talking about what some character did in his room years and years ago, I have shake my head at the faith placed in these entertainment industry films.

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