Sitting down to a documentary is all well and good, but sometimes you want the storytelling that can only come from a filmmaker. For those who love a true story more than anything, it can sometimes be tricky to find viewing that sufficiently captures the imagination. However, there are a whole host of directors who enjoy nothing more than bringing a fascinating true story to life. This is certainly the case for the next few films, whose stories are stranger than fiction, but whose on-screen presence pulls it off perfectly.
True Story, 2015
Much as the name suggests, True Story is indeed based on a true story. Starring James Franco, Jonah Hill, and Felicity Jones, this film is based on a memoir of the same name. Jonah Hill plays Michael Finkel in the film, a man who was a New York Times reporter, but has somehow found himself on the FBI’s most-wanted list for allegedly killing his wife and two children. This film presents a classic case of mistaken identity, but it seems that it is up to Michael Finkel to evade capture and solve the problem himself. Christian Longo is the man who we believe has committed the crime but incredibly the two strike up an unusual relationship.
Molly’s Game, 2017
Molly’s Game follows the true story of Molly Bloom, a former Olympic skier, who not satisfied with her incredible lot in life began a second, more lucrative, career. Whilst there’s plenty of cash to be made in Olympic-level success, there’s even more to be made in organizing high-stakes poker games, and more still in high-stakes poker games for the rich and famous. Molly set about creating the most exclusive private poker network and had years of success, with A-list celebrities frequently attending her games. Of course, all good things must come to an end and before long, the FBI is interested. The film follows Molly in her attempts to keep her gaming network safe. Does she do it? We shan’t spoil the end for you. If Molly’s Game has got you wanting to learn how to play poker then you’re not alone. This film did a lot to raise the profile of poker again. A couple of booms in interest in the years before had come from the enormous win of Chris Moneymaker and the arrival of televised tournaments. With a high-profile film like Molly’s Game, it was no wonder interest surged again.
Wild casts Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, a woman who sets off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Reese’s character is indeed a real person, who not only made the incredible journey told in this tale, but also wrote an entire book about it. Cheryl had had a desperately bad run of luck over the past couple of years before embarking on this adventure, with the breakdown of her marriage and her mother’s death. Feeling trapped by the gloom of her new life, Cheryl decided not to wallow, but rather to go on an adventure. She begins her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail not really knowing what life will throw at her next, but bravely ready for it. This film is, much like life, in parts hilarious and in parts heartbreaking.