Based on Herman J. Mankiewicz, ‘Mank’ captures the life of the screenwriter as he writes the screenplay for the film ‘Citizen Kane’ along with Orson Welles. This biographical drama also looks at his relationships with William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies. This film’s visual presentation is particularly fascinating as it takes us back to the world of black-and-white cinema. This is only apt since the film revisits 1930s Hollywood through the eyes of Mankiewicz. If you are into celebrity biopics and want some more, here we have a list of films that will catch your attention. You will find most of these films like ‘Mank’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
9. Capote (2005)
All ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ fans must know the man behind the story – Truman Capote. The world knows him for his talents as a novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, actor, and playwright. This film is based on the 1988 biography called ‘Capote’ written by Gerald Clarke. When Capote comes across an article about a family that was murdered in Kansas, he decides to learn more about it. The events that follow the whole experience transpires to the pages of his true crime novel, ‘In Cold Blood.’ This role earned Philip Seymour Hoffman an Oscar for his portrayal of Truman Capote.
8. Chaplin (1992)
Charlie Chaplin is one of the most recognized personalities in the world. His mannerisms and comic style have seen thousands of people mimicking the legend, but how many can boast of being nominated for an Oscar for the same? The answer is Robert Downey Jr. Directed by Richard Attenborough, the film is an adaptation of Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography called ‘My Autobiography’ and the 1985 book, ‘Chaplin: His Life and Art’ by David Robinson.
The film revisits Chaplin’s personal life and how that influenced his work over the years. Although the film did not do well at the box office, you can’t help but be awe-struck by Robert Downey Jr.’s performance. A note: the last scene is worth the wait!
7. Ed Wood (1994)
This biographical comedy-drama, directed by Tim Burton, highlights the unusual process of film-making that Ed Wood used. This film looks at Wood’s journey as he tries to make a film on transvestism, a topic very personal to him. Johnny Depp plays the titular role and delivers a memorable performance. The film also has a fictional sequence involving Wood meeting his idol, Orson Welles. Like ‘Mank,’ this film is also shot in black-and-white. Although ‘Ed Wood’ did not do well at the box office, it was well-received by the critics.
6. My Week with Marilyn (2011)
The film focuses on a particular week in 1957 when Marilyn Monroe was filming ‘The Prince and the Showgirl.’ The film dips a little into her personal relationship with her husband. After her husband Arthur Miller returned to the U.S.A., she spent a week in London, accompanied by Colin Clark. One can’t help but be charmed by Marilyn Monroe’s timeless grace and beauty even after all these years.
The movie gives a glimpse of what it was like to work with her; people were mesmerized by her presence. Interestingly, this film shot a few sequences at the same studio where ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ was filmed (Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire).
5. Liz & Dick (2012)
The Lifetime film specifically explores Elizabeth Taylor’s life and her turbulent relationship with Richard Burton. Both of them were married to other people when they started their affair while filming ‘Cleopatra.’ They decided to end their respective relationships, which was more problematic for Richard Burton as his wife refused to divorce him.
As a result of which Taylor and Burton split, only to reignite their affair three months later. Professional jealousy brings trouble to their already volatile relationship. All relationships are layered, but some make the headlines because it involves legends, much like William Hearst and Mankiewicz’s equation.
4. Lovelace (2013)
The film delves into the dark side of the adult film industry. The movie is based on the personal and professional life of the adult film star Linda Boreman. Linda Lovelace is the professional name that the world learned with the success of the adult film, ‘Deep Throat.’ While people only saw the seemingly perfect and glamorous side of Lovelace’s life, the film juxtaposes it with the darker reality of the physical and sexual abuse she was subjected to by her husband. Amanda Seyfried’s performance as the titular character has been widely appreciated.
3. Walk the Line (2005)
Featuring Joaquin Phoenix, the film looks at the life and rise to fame of the musical legend, Johnny Cash. With a childhood overshadowed by tragedy, he gradually gets deeper into the world of music. As he grows to become more and more popular, his drug and alcohol habits turn to addiction. The movie sees his life through the lens of his relationship with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon).
This romantic musical drama was nominated under five categories for the 78th Academy Awards, including Best Actor, Best Actress (which Witherspoon won), and Best Costume Design. What Cash’s addiction does to the people around him reminds us of Rita Alexander’s (Lily Collins) significance in Mankiewicz’s life in ‘Mank.’
2. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
This list would be incomplete without ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ which presents the life of Freddie Mercury up close. The film created massive waves much ahead of its release, more so because it showcases the life of one of the most defining influencers in the rock music scene. There is a high likelihood that you have come across videos that compare Rami Malek’s performance in the film to the videos from Queen’s live performances.
The uncanny resemblance, the posture, and mannerisms alone attracted a large number of Queen fans to watch this film. The biographical account covers the life of Freddie Mercury, his rise to fame, and his sexuality. His strong relationships with his bandmates, Mary Austin and Jim Hutton, are at the center of the storyline.
1. Trumbo (2015)
The biographical film follows the life of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. He was one of the blacklisted people along with other screenwriters, producers, and directors, who were suspected of having ties with the Communist Party. They were collectively referred to as “The Hollywood Ten.” It presents the years of his life that he was harassed for his alleged association with the Communist Party, which eventually forced him into ghostwriting.
Some of his best works received international recognition during that time, for which he could not take credit. This includes the film ‘Roman Holiday.’ Interestingly, Orson Welles was also named in the Red Channels List, making him another blacklistee.