Is Georgetown Based on a True Story?

Starring Christoph Waltz, Vanessa Redgrave, and Annette Bening, ‘Georgetown’ is a crime drama film based on Franklin Foer’s article “The Worst Marriage in Georgetown” that was featured in the New York Times Magazine. The film follows Ulrich Mott, an Iraqi General married to the successful journalist and author Elsa Brecht. Because of his charming personality and military background, Ulrich has a significant influence on people in Washington, D.C. However, his life turns upside down when his well-connected and wealthy wife is found dead in their home.

Elsa’s daughter Amanda believes that Ulrich has something to do with her mother’s death, but when investigations begin, it reveals a web of lies and deception that shocks the residents of Washington. So how rooted in reality is the plot of ‘Georgetown’? Let’s find out.

Is Georgetown Based on a True Story?

Yes, ‘Georgetown’ is based on a true story. The character of Elsa is based on Viola Herms Drath, a successful journalist and author who wrote eight textbooks in her lifetime and was a prominent figure in German-American relations for about three decades. She was married to Lt. Col. Francis S. Drath until he passed away in January 1986. A few years later (in April 1990), Viola tied the knot with Albrecht Gero Muth (Ulrich Mott in the film), an unpaid intern who was forty-four years younger than her. Viola was 70, while Muth had been 26-years-old at the time of their wedding.

Their marriage lasted for two decades, and Muth was like a companion to Viola. Although the couple slept in the same room, they apparently had their own separate beds. However, it is important to note that there were numerous instances of domestic violence with Viola, and Muth was allegedly abusive and controlling. So, when Viola’s dead body was found on August 11, 2011, in her bathroom, the police investigation revealed secrets that sent shockwaves throughout the country.

It turned out that Muth has was not only abusive but was also an incorrigible liar. After the end of the 2003 Iraq war, he would often masquerade as the Brigadier General of the Iraqi army. But when his claims were investigated, it was revealed that he was using a store-bought military certificate to fool everyone in his neighborhood. Muth had come up with an elaborate scheme to deceive Viola and the people around him so that he could manipulate them to get what he wanted. In reality, he was reportedly unemployed and used to live on the $2,000 monthly allowance that Viola would give to him.

Connie and Francesca, Viola’s daughters from his first marriage, revealed in court that Muth would often send them emails to discuss things that he wanted for himself after his wife’s death. Moreover, he allegedly had similar conversations with Viola as well. Muth claimed that Viola had passed away after accidentally falling in the bathroom, but the medical examinations proved that it was a homicide. Since there was no evidence of forced entry into the house, all the evidence pointed to Muth.

Furthermore, prosecutors even revealed that Muth searched about Mexican and Canadian border crossings and looked up for flights to Iceland on Google, soon after he murdered his wife. In January 2014, D.C. Superior Court found Muth guilty of first-degree murder, and he was later sentenced to 50 years in prison. The harrowing story of lies, deception, and murder sounds surreal, but the film ‘Georgetown’ is based on this real-life murder case.

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