5 Must Watch Biographical Films  

Posted by Vee

Disclaimer: These are not my all time 5 must watch biographies. Out of the movies which I saw last month, almost half of them were based on true stories and these are the 5 that I rate high. Interestingly, if I choose my all time 5 favorites in Biographical Film category, only one from this would make it. Wanna guess which one? Come on, guess.

Modigliani – Rating 4.5/5

Amedeo Modigliani (called Modi by friends) was an unconventional painter. He was an Italian artist and rival of famous Pablo Picasso. Modi was not the conformist which was looked down by all, yet Picasso admitted him as the greatest ever and in a scene he refers to him as god. Modi had poverty stricken adult life and the movie mostly showcases last few years of his life before he died of tubercular meningitis at the age of 36.

Anyone who is admirer of Howard Roark of The Fountainhead would be able to correlate Modi’s life and artistic mind with that of Rand’s unconventional protagonist. So, Picasso was Peter Keating. Modi believed that the true creativity comes from disorder and was a follower of Nietzsche’s philosophy. An alcoholic and drug addict Modi had an illegitimate child from Jeanne. He was jew and she, a catholic. She gave up on him when he could not get his acts straight and went and posed for Picasso. Down in poverty and trying to win his wife back he entered the Paris’s annual art competition. Picasso followed suit. The movie thus takes an emotional and poignant turn.

Modi’s role is played by Andy Garcia (of Ocean’s series fame).

In the Name of the Father – Rating 4.5/5

Gerry (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a petty thief and troublemaker in Belfast (Ireland). His father Giuseppe (Pete Postlethwaite) sends him off to London where his aunt lives. Gerry along with his friend instead land up in jail. After visiting his aunt, Gerry and his friend Paul get to meet some local druggists and after a romp with them they find themselves on street with no place to spend night. They go to park outside the Guildford Pub and there is a blast that very moment in the pub wherein 5 people got killed and several injured. British Police implicates Gerry and Paul in the Bombing which was purportedly done by IRA (Irish Republic Army). The duo claim innocence; however British are hell bent on calling them members of IRA. Two other friends of the duo are arrested and are made to sign confession under severe threat. All four accused named ‘Guildford Four’ by the media are given life imprisonment. The ordeal doesn’t end there. Gerry’s father and his aunt are arrested as well in false case of helping the supposed murderers.

Gerry inside the prison has given up all hopes of clearing his and his father’s name. But his father continues to fight for their innocence with the help of Lawyer Gareth (Emma Thompson); but to no avail. He falls sick and eventually dies. Gerry now joins hands with Gareth and picks up from where his father had left. 15 years of captivity based on falsehood sees light of hope when the actual IRA bomber confesses to the crime and British Police is shamed for charging the Guildford Four purely on flimsy grounds.

Initially not so in good terms with his father, Gerry fought hard to clear his father’s name. The father-son relationship angle is sure to touch hearts.

Flash of Genius – Rating 4.5/5

Bob Kearns life came to a beating halt when his invention ‘windshield wiper’ that he had presented to Ford Motor Company was termed as “the invention by Ford’s Engineers and Bob was just imagining it”. What followed was a lawsuit by Bob against the giant motor maker Ford.

Bob was an engineering professor, married to another teacher Phyllis and had 6 children to support. Once on an outing with the family in his ford car, he realized how bad the visibility goes due to badly manufactured windshield wipers those days. Bob came up with the idea of making wipers that could blink like an eye so that once they wipe the shield; the visibility would not be affected. Ford loved the idea and asked him to make one piece which could be sent to Washington DC for approval. Excitedly, Bob along with his young sons worked on the piece for three months and presented it to Ford and waited. 18 months later, he was told that Ford doesn’t want his ‘windshield wiper’ any more. Bob was heartbroken but what made him lose his cool when he saw his own wiper being used in the cars made by Ford on the opening night of famous ‘Mustang’.

He filed the lawsuit. He was offered 1 Million by Ford to take case back. He did not budge. Ford offered him 4 Millions. He still did not budge and continued his research. Meanwhile, he suffered nervous breakdown, his wife divorced him taking all 6 children with her. His friend of 25 years and colleague too fringed one of his patents. He had lost everything.

Ford increased the offer. He agreed on one condition that Ford releases statement accepting the fact ‘wiper’ was his invention. Ford did not do so. He continued the case. His children were grown by the time the case came up for hearing. His elder son and elder daughter started assisting him in the fight. After a bitter fight and some name calling, Jury did find that Ford had infringed his patent and asked Ford to give him 10 Million Dollars. Chrysler followed and offered another 18 Millions. Ford did accept they had infringed but it was not deliberate.

China Cry – Rating 4/5

China Cry is a true story of a Chinese woman Nora Lam who was abandoned at birth and later adopted by a rich family. Family had to leave their home in Shanghai during war with Japan. After the war ended, she was enrolled in a Missionary where she got inclined to Christianity which became her menace that forced her to flee from China and take refuge in Hong Kong for a while before making United States her permanent home.

The movie is about how she miraculously survived execution when taken as prisoner for following Christianity by the China’s communist party and how she was made to write each and every detail of her childhood; any incident which could have led her to Christianity. She was tortured and kicked in stomach when pregnant. Her determination to fight back and give her child a free environment covers the later part of the movie.

Invincible – Rating 3.5/5

Vince Papale was a part time teacher and a die-hard Eagles fan. Philadelphia Eagles play American Football. Vince had season tickets for all Eagles game. He dreamt of playing for the team. But he felt he was too old for it after turning 30. Luck runs out of his life after his wife leaves him not before naming him ‘good for nothing’. He is fired from job because of pay cut. He becomes bartender and occasionally plays football with friend.

Eagles are losing all the matches, yet Vince is firm in his belief for his favorite tem that they will come back to top. When Eagles announce that they will have walk-in sort of arrangement to get new blood in the team Vince too decides to give it a short after much coaxing by friends. He is not only the fastest given his age, he is better equipped with knowhow of the game. He makes in to the team which came as a moment of bafflement but also happiness for his friends and colleagues at bar.
Invincible is a neat, simple story of a man who rose from poverty to enjoy three year stint in the Eagles team and also as captain for special team.

These biographical films are not just usual true stories which are made into film. They all have something in common. The element of injustice they suffered and their fight for their rights and freedom.

Just couple of things I would like to add in the end. Go watch Hindi Film ‘Udaan’ if you have not yet seen. And Dabangg is going to be Salman’s one of the biggest hits. Haha… Adios. So Long.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2010 and is filed under , , , , , , , , , . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .

14 Pointless but Viscous Comments.

Out of the five, my pick is 'Flash of Genius' ! :)

Good work Oxy boyyy ! :D :D Liked all your reviews as usual ! :D

@Vimmuuu Boy, The Thanks. But Yours Answers The Wrongs. Buhahaha

Btw, thanks for pointing me to the Dabangg review. 4 n half stars... Soooper... Me the likes...

Me the thinks its the first one. Beyond that i ams honest. Not read a words :D

thanks for updating at last...really missed yo BIG B...

waiting for dabang too...

I love the movies you picked.Gr8 taste as me heheh

take care

@Smita, You the thinks quite right, but close.

@Rainboy, Miss u too..

Welcome back. Thats a nice profile pic too. You know my address right? Haha. All sound like wonderful movies.

Oxyy boyy : You are the wrongs ! I was mentioned my pick; not yours ! : D:D

Thanks for the tips Vee! You are a fab database for world movies!

After a long hiatus!!!
:) nice to see you back
Have watched Flash of Genius only :)
So let me try to get hold on others as well!!

BTW have watched Udaan and loved that too. Searched for Kanti shah ke Angoor as well :) but did not get a copy of that (I heard that even that has been released)

And yeah Chulbul Pandey is going to rock!!


@Ava, Of course I know, the thing with me is I get to see from rental sites (&0mmm n Big Flix)... No writer to copy them sadly...

@Vimmuuu Boy, Don't now u try to twist things.. Get Lost.

@V Rakesh, If you say so. Thanks.

@Bhupesh, Do that. ah, Kanti Shah... Haha... I too heard abt it par mila nahi abhi tak.


Wow, Invincible and China Cry go straight to my To Watch List. Thanks for this Vee.

@Ava, I know.

@Rakesh, Cool, do watch..My fav out of these is In The Name Of The Father.... try kar lena ho sake toh

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