There’s no need for a writer to “create” something that’s not there, in a movie based on a true story. That’s not the case with the movies that don’t take everything from the story and just cook up a plot inspired from it. However, writing a film based on a true story can be tricky. It’s very easy for the writers to get carried away into the facts and events, and just making the movie a journal of the characters, drifting away from the fundamental purpose of entertaining the viewer. On the other end, the plot can’t be too dramatized. Striking a balance in the very initial stage of writing is an essential step towards making a good movie based on a true story.
Executing a movie based on a true story, however, is more challenging than making a typical movie. The production unit, from the director to the most minimal staff, have to get a lot of things perfect. Whether it may be getting the facts right, maintaining authenticity, and much other such stuff needs to be spot on. One of the most challenging jobs, in such films, is probably that of an actor. Impersonating someone who is not an imaginary character, is a big test for an actor. And over the years, most of the best acting performances have been based on such real characters.
Most importantly, movies based on true stores are subjected to thorough scrutiny from all sections of the crowd. Every tiny inaccuracy is magnified on all platforms. So, from all of this, we can only conclude one thing that perfection is a key to any movie that is based on a true story, I can’t say that that the following movies are perfect, but they have given me a good cinematic experience, and I hope that the same will be the case with you. So, let’s get started. Here is the list of top movies based on real life stories that released in 2018.
20. The Miracle Season (2018)
‘The Miracle Season’, based on the inspiring true story, follows a high school volleyball team in pain after losing one of their star players, Caroline “line” Found. After the tragic loss, they must work together to win state championships while battling the loss of their star team member, friend, and family member. The screenplay of the movie is great, with relatable characters and a powerful story. The acting is great, the music complements the movie well. The funny heartfelt moments carry the story, the story which doesn’t lose its power throughout the runtime.
That being said, it’s understandable that the makers want to create drama to perpetuate the story with a sort of antagonist. The timeline is a little shaky, and the difference between semifinals only finals is only a day, but again, for the sake of plot development, it’s necessary. Other than these few small details, I found the film to be very good, and I hope you will too. It’s a good portrayal of events, and how drive and determination really can propel you to the top, and honor those left behind. Give it a shot!
19. Tag (2018)
I’ve seen some comments about the movie lacking substance but it’s a movie all about these people playing tag, it’s literally about that and rightfully so. It avoids the stereotypical Hollywood cliche comedy genre tropes and makes for a uniquely formatted comedy without putting in a pointless filler. The cast of ‘Tag’ is well picked, and the movie thrives off some solid pacing. I’d of personally preferred a few more tag action scenes but there’s enough to be content with. If you just want a funny movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously then this one is a hit.
From Jeremy Renner’s channeling of Jason Bourne to Isla Fisher’s intensity there are several entertaining factors throughout the movie. So, don’t dismiss this movie because of its silly plot, although it says that is based on true events. In fact, there is footage at the end of the movie about the real group of friends, who years later continued to play the game of “Tag”. You may be entertained by this, especially by its physical comedy and the chemistry of the cast, because the cast is what sustains this flick.
18. Papillon (2018)
‘Papillon’ is a biographical crime-drama about a French convict that escaped from a penal colony in 1943, with the help of another convict. It’s a remake of 1973 classic starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, and it’s based on the autobiographies by Henry Charrière. This updated version stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek. It is directed by Michael Noer, and Aaron Guzikowski writes a good screenplay for him to direct.
The film has received mixed reviews from critics, and my feelings on it are a bit mixed as well. I enjoyed parts of it, including the visuals and score, but I think it goes on for way too long, and it’s too slow-paced. With a little better pacing and about twenty minutes more cut out of it, the movie could have been much better. But looking at the movie as it is, if you don’t mind the slow pace, and if you don’t get too stuck up on the original, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
17. The Death of Stalin (2018)
Many of you might’ve placed this one way up the list than I have. But this is the sort of movie that depends on the viewer’s taste. According to me, it’s not a bad film. I understand the political satire and the intent of the humor, it just wasn’t quite my tempo. I knew that this wasn’t a movie for me from the first few minutes, so I do applaud myself for being patient enough to actually see it through ’til the end. Ultimately, the story just never drew me in. As the movie wore on, it isn’t as funny and is a mediocre story of a few people fighting for political support. It does a good job of capturing the political silliness of the Soviet state but didn’t do anything else interesting, making for a decent movie.
The cast is excellent. They’re clearly all having fun and you can see they’re all having a good time working on this story. And, if you know even a tiny bit about the historical events behind it, you should love it as much as I wished I did. However, for me, personally, I just couldn’t seem to get behind it, no matter how good the cast is. Just check out the general ratings for the film, they’re pretty high. If you’re wondering whether to watch the film or not, I think you should definitely go with their views over mine. If you like that kind of humor, you’ll love the movie.
16. Operation Finale (2018)
The so-called ‘architect of the Holocaust’, Adolf Eichmann is kidnapped by Israeli agents from his home in Argentina and taken to Israel to face war-crime charges in this generally realistic and well-made historical drama. The story trajectory is fairly simple: Eichmann is recognized, Mossad assembles a plan and a team, the plan is executed and the alleged war criminal is spirited out of Buenos Aires to face trial. Much of the middle of the film is a psychological cat-and-mouse game between two expert manipulators, Eichmann and Mossad agent Peter Malkin, each probing the other for weaknesses.
The cast is uniformly very good although Ben Kingsley is a few years too old to play the captive Eichmann. The film is generally an accurate depiction of the events except for the roles of Lotar and Sylvia Hermann, which are simultaneously simplified and exaggerated, a pointless change of sex for the team’s physician to allow romantic subplot, and, some fanciful last minute nick-of-time heroics. But like I said before, these things are necessary, and once again, you’ll have to look above these to truly enjoy the film.
15. Boy Erased (2018)
‘Boy Erased’ is a well-meaning true story about Jared Eamons’ experience with conversion therapy. Being a gay young teen is hard enough for Jared, but, its compounded by growing up in the South and having a Preacher as a father. Jared’s mom tries to be both protective of her son and loyal to her husband. Jared’s instructor at the conversion retreat is Sykes, played by Joel Edgerton, who also directed and co-wrote the screenplay.
It’s all ably performed, but, until the final act, curiously lacking in gripping drama. It’s the performances that keep you glued to the screen. Hedges is genuinely terrific despite the dullness of much of the screenplay. Edgerton gives himself a fairly one-dimensional role and does enough to elevate it. Crowe and Kidman hold the film together and are solid as Aussies playing Southerners And the final scenes give the movie some of the shapes it needed all along.
14. A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)
I was not aware of the guy depicted here, and how he changed the comedy industry in America and therefore around the world. I was more aware of ZAZ connection, and I found out I am not alone with a lack of this knowledge. And the movie is here to rectify this, although you could also call it an almost documentary, one that breaks the 4th wall quite a lot. Not all creative people have problems, but it seems that they all get caught up at some time or another, with problems due to too much time and money. It is an interesting story in the life of one of the founders of National Lampoon Magazine.
We get introduced to the character right off the bat and because I had no idea what he looks like I couldn’t tell if he played himself in older age, though that is something that will be clear towards the end if you didn’t know already yourself. We get quite a few comedy talents of our recent times, playing quite a few of comedy legends of that time the movie depicts. It is funny, but it is also weird and therefore not really for everyone. I like the fact this dares to be different, I can’t say if that rings true for you.
13. The Senator / Chappaquiddick (2018)
The presentation of the title car accident is handled in as matter-of-fact a way as possible, almost like a TV docu-drama. The cast is solid. Kate Mara does the best she can with her limited screen time, investing the ill-fated Mary Jo Kopechne. Ed Helms is strong as Joe Gargan, a Kennedy confidant who is both co-conspirator and the movie’s conscience. The one thing the movie gets mostly right is the presentation of Ted Kennedy as a diffident man.
The heir to a family empire who achieves that summit not by merit or accomplishment, but, through a trio of tragic deaths of his elder brothers. His tragedy is of his own making, and he had to live with that for the rest of his life. ‘The Senator’ felt it was his obligation to be the third Kennedy brother to run for President, even if he didn’t really desire it. If you have any interest in politics, you could do a lot worse than watching it and I encourage you to check it out.
12. Adrift (2018)
‘Adrift’ is a beautiful little tale about a young couple who fall foul of a severe storm while out boating. Starring the underrated Shailene Woodley and Hunger Games star Sam Claflin it at its core is a love story but like all love stories, it’s also a tragedy. Based on a true story it plays out on two fronts, what is presently happening and the flashbacks that explain how it all came to be.
The movie is rather devoid of originality and we have seen it all before, but the film does have a strong cast and excellent cinematography to fall back on and that certainly raises it above the average. I like Woodley, I expected her to have a considerably bigger career than she has and hope that competent little movie like this where she really shines can do something about that. The film is beautiful and worth your time even if you’ll know exactly how it’s going to play out.
11. Whitney (2018)
This catchy, deep, revealing and thorough narrative about deceased Whitney Houston is really worth a watch. Last year, the film, ‘Can I Be Me?’, came out as a documentary about the same story. I liked it too, but this surpasses that one. Most people know Whitney Houston, her fantasy career and cruel destiny. It tells in depth why it went as it went. This gives the film both credibility and impact. The film also manages to put Houston’s life and career in a time perspective, which means that one follows this artist through thirty years in the media image.
‘Whitney’ shows Houston’s upbringing as unproblematic. Between her mother Cissy, who was a backup singer for musical legends such as Elvis and Aretha Franklin, and her cousins Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, it was almost predetermined that Houston was going to be a huge singer. Yet the world nor Whitney was prepared for the type of rush that would bring her to superstardom. The film is smart in how it depicts Houston through interviews with her family, friends, and whatever Bobby Brown is.
10. American Animals (2018)
‘American Animals’ is a really interesting film that combines the very traditional documentary aesthetic with the very traditional film aesthetic that has elements of fiction as well, making it a really cool and unique film to watch. The themes are very concrete in this film. It is clearly about youth wanting to be something greater than they actually are and that idea of living in a fantasy and wanting to make something of themselves before it is too late.
This is something maybe most teens would relate with, wanting something big to happen in their life that makes it feel a lot more important. The film is funny and seemingly light-hearted at times and at other times its really intense and shocking. The climax and ending are pure crime drama cinema at it’s best. Keoghan and Peters are both good as the leads, and the actual criminals have strong screen presence as well. It’s a near perfect movie that’s definitely worth seeing I’d say.
9. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (2018)
The movie is based on the true story of John Callahan, a general slacker who drank too much and at the age of twenty one, was rendered wheelchair-bound in an auto accident during a night of heavy drinking. John Michael Callahan was a cartoonist, artist, and musician in Portland, Oregon, noted for dealing with macabre subjects and physical disabilities. Joaquin Phoenix is very good in the role of John Callahan.
During his recovery, and gaining partial use of his arms and hands, began drawing cartoons just for the fun of it. One of them was a wheelchair and the caption was the title of this movie. He became noticed and got a regular gig as a cartoonist. The movie also shows a lot of the addiction meetings he attended and his gradual recovery to sobriety. The makers must be lauded for churning a good movie from a difficult subject. I can see how people are not relating to it, after all, it’s not for everyone.
8. Colette (2018)
‘Colette’ is a product of the directing team of Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, responsible for earlier respectable work including the moving Alzheimer’s drama, “Still Alice.” Glatzer tragically died from complications of ALS in 2015. But before passing away, he was primarily responsible for putting together this entertaining biopic of the turn-of-the-century French feminist icon, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, known only by her surname in perpetuity. Glatzer focuses primarily on Colette’s early career when she meets and marries Henry Gauthier-Villars, primarily known as Willy,
Despite being a somewhat one-note character, Dominic West steals the show as Willy and proves to be far more interesting than Keira Knightley as Colette, whose apparent claim to fame is her eventual success in extricating herself from the clutches of her manipulative husband, and making a name for herself in both the literary world as well as on the stage. ‘Colette’ the film is breezy and entertaining, featuring some compelling scenes between a witty, warring couple. The cinematography coupled with a set design that echoes the beauty of the period must be seen to be believed.
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7. Beautiful Boy (2018)
‘Beautiful Boy’ is based on the real-life memoirs of father and son David and Nic Sheff. The film is well done and detailed in flashback like a form of their relationship. David, who’s a remarried successful man, loves his first son very much. The film shows the high and low points of family life as you the viewer embrace the scenes of Nic growing up and being loved. And still, you see as when he sees his original mother the feel of distance from her.
The scenes of his drug use from his passing out and nearly overdosing to the gross marks on his arm from heroin use are harrowing and blunt. You see the pain, drama, and emotion that it causes all as this film’s message is a cause and need for hope with those that are battling the demons of addiction. The performances were both honest and raw, especially Chalamet and of course, Steve Carell. Overall, its worth a look as it does give a message of caution and recovery.
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6. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
The movie starts, as all most movies do, at the beginning. Freddie, known then as Farouk, is a baggage handler at an airport, casually writes lyrics at the bus stop, and goes out to gigs every night. One night he encounters a band called Smile and approaches them about filling in for their recently-absent lead singer. What follows is a management deal, recording studios, and world tours, until Freddie gets too big for his boots, is manipulated by one of his managers, and descends into drugs, parties, and breaking up the band to pursue a solo career. Then the film culminates in his AIDS diagnosis and the band coming back together for LiveAid.
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a good little movie. It manages to toe a careful balance between feel-good entertainment and portraying the darker sides of Freddie’s story. His drug use, his vagrant parties of excess, his sexuality, his manipulation by the hands of Paul Prenter, and his diagnosis framed by the rise of the illness are all touched upon just enough without bringing down the mood too much. I’m also amazed at how much “Queen” I actually knew without ever really clocking it was Queen. If nothing else, that’s the mark of an iconic band, when their music is so intrinsically woven into modern culture thirty years later.
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5. The Tale (2018)
My main problem with ‘The Tale’, is that I felt the narrative tricks it used to tell the story were at best confusing and at worse distracting from the overall emotion of the piece. Apart from that, this is a seriously powerful movie about the sexual abuse of children. It is adult deceit and complicity with complications that provoke thoughts of the “Me Too” movement. ‘The Tale’ is told from the perspectives of childhood and adult reflection as simultaneous lives. The film tries to tell that we are adults because we were children and our adulthood is formed by how we were children.
For that reason, ‘The Tale’ should not be ignored. Older children and adults, male and female alike should all view this movie and together as parents, it is that powerful. The structure of the plot isn’t one’s usual melodrama that spends its time on grieving and instead takes action through its own methodology and is delivered by some amazing heartfelt conversations. Laura is my candidate for best actress award because of this movie. The movie itself could be nominated for best movie, and if not for a few glitches here and there, I would’ve bet on it.
4. Blackkklansman (2018)
‘BlackkKlansman’ is one of Spike Lee’s best movies in years, and I would say up there with ‘Eighth Grade’ as one of the best movies of the summer of 2018. John David Washington and Adam Driver carry this movie. This movie is immaculately and creatively shot. The script is all at once funny, tense, romantic, sobering, and it ends on a great call to action. ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is crafted with a clever but composed eye as Lee allows the viewers to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride by establishing a light and funny vibe while he works on the underside to slowly ruffle their emotions.
The film paints a gripping and thought-provoking portrait of race relations in America and draws parallels with contemporary racial issues in a determined fashion. It’s hard-hitting stuff offered in a not so hard-hitting manner, delving into the wicked mechanisms of America’s own terrorist organization in a way that’s as amusing as it is disturbing and at times tense and frightening too.
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3. Won’t You Be My Neighbor (2018)
For a basic overview, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ follows both the life and career of Fred Rogers, as well as setting that in parallel to his iconic “Mr. Rogers’ “Neighborhood” show on public television. Rogers’ family, including his wife and two sons, are interviewed, as well as those who worked on and starred in the show with him. will strike a chord with nearly every one of its viewers. Mr. Rogers also had a show that explained tough issues like race, divorce, death, and many other things to kids, through it all acceptance and kindness was taught to all.
Practically everyone in the United States knows something about Mr. Rogers, and for so many of those people, he spoke directly to them, through the television, on a consistent basis. It’s supremely emotional, incredibly informative, and just a refreshing reminder of the simple, yet extraordinary, tale and the value of human decency and kindness.
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2. The Old Man & the Gun (2018)
‘The Old Man & the Gun’ is an interesting story about a heist man who robs banks for a living and is being tracked down. At the beginning of the movie, you get this message: “This story, also, is mostly true.” Watching a Robert Redford movie is like sitting back in your favorite chair with a drink by your hand. He’s just so totally entertaining and has such an engaging, easy screen presence. Sissy Spacek plays a kindly, self-reliant widow whom Forrest meets by accident and strikes up with.
Their scenes together are maybe the best thing about the film, their lined, leathery, old-person faces are marvelously expressive. Casey Affleck plays John Hunt, the police officer trying to track down Tucker and his gang. I just thought it was a bit too slow-moving, and the plot was a bit too thin to support the run time. I really hope that there’s a more substantial movie in the future that Redford will sign onto. As a movie icon, he deserves it.
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1. First Man (2018)
The story of ‘First Man’, of course, covers the Apollo landing and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. While comparisons with other space movies like ‘Gravity’ and ‘Interstellar’ are inevitable, the truth is ‘First Man’ is a human drama first and a space movie second. The best aspect of the film is easily the film’s presentation of the many failures and losses that led to the Apollo landing. You really get a feel for just how difficult it was for the early astronauts and their families.
Chazalle clearly knew that it is futile to make another space action-adventure. While the shots of space and moon are jaw-dropping, it is the intimate moments of the film that will leave you in tears. One such moment happens on the dinner table when Armstrong tries to explain to his two sons that he might never come back. Another touching moment that will break your heart is when Armstrong after landing on moon pays homage to his dead daughter. What is evident in the scene that Armstrong undertook such a dangerous mission because he wanted to honor his daughter. In many ways, she and her memories kept him motivated throughout the mission.
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