I’ve got another movie list for you today! This one kind of rivals the post I wrote about musicals a few months ago. I like a LOT of biographical films and it’s something that I’m always looking for if my documentaries are getting a little low. I have run out of both genres at the same time, it was a very sad day when that happened! I don’t recommend doing that!
I tried taking out all of the biopics I saw as miniseries on different networks like History and Lifetime because I figured that they’d take over this list and as I was busy searching for my favorites I did realize that I was right, I’ve seen quite a bit! So this is a list of big films that there were released from 2001 to 2016. Don’t freak out too much on me please, I’ll only discuss ten films but I will say there a lot of others that I’ve seen that also deserve to be on here too, but I only wanted to talk ten so I apologize.
Bride Of The Wind – 2001 starring Sarah Wynter, Jonathan Pryce, and Vincent Perez
This was one of the most recent biopic films I’ve watched, I think I saw it back in early September – from July to October I was in a big movie mood where I even broke one of my own rules and watched movies beyond 1999 and I rarely do that!
Anyways, this is film about the woman and composer Alma Mahler, as she marries three times. She was first married to the older Jewish composer and conductor Gustav Mahler, when their youngest died at the age of two and she went away because she had a break down and met her second husband Walter Gropius, there she had an affair with a painter by the name of Oskar Kokoschka who painted her as his muse and one of those paintings was used as the title of the film itself, The Bride Of The Wind. Her third husband was the writer Franz Werfel.
The story is very interesting, although it does portray Alma as this spoiled and selfish woman throughout the film. It was basically the only thing I honestly hated about it, although it could have been very true. Gustav makes her give up composing while they’re married and I would be bored with myself if I had nannies taking care of my children. Other than that, I thought it was a good film. I’ll never be able to see the High Sparrow the same, but you know!
Ray – 2004 starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington
Ray will always be a favorite of mine. I actually saw this while I was in school and of course, we had to skip the drug using scenes but I always found it absolutely heartbreaking whenever Ray’s mother forces her young son to try to find her on his own after he becomes blind. And the fact that he blames himself for the death of his younger brother too. I have to prepare myself for those scenes because I know I will start bawling my eyes if I’m not too careful.
The first time I watched this, I wasn’t paying too much attention of great castings until I saw Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles. I thought it was the best decision ever! You literally thought this was the son of Ray Charles or something because he just mirrored him. This was also my second film I ever watched with Kerry Washington in it, before she was made Olivia Pope in Scandal. I thought she also did a great job of bringing Ray’s first wife to life too.
Marie Antoinette – 2006 starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, and Rose Bryne
This was my first ever historical biopic I ever watched and I was fairly early in my teens when I watched it too. I never saw it in school, this was a film I watched on TV but don’t ask me whether or not it had commercials included with it because I don’t remember. I do know was after I saw it, I was obsessed with the fashion of the time of the real Dauphine and then Queen of France, Marie Antoinette; later on I became obsessed with French pastries after seeing Marie’s 21st birthday scene.
You get a real sense of Marie’s troubles of conceiving a child with her husband when her mother and ambassadors talk about it in practically every other scene. All that stress doesn’t work well with trying to having a baby, nor does it help if Louis, the Dauphin of France wasn’t interested either. Of course, when it came to producing an heir to the throne, it’s always the wives fault. Never the men!
Public Enemies – 2009 starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Marion Cotillard
Yes, I’m talking about Public Enemies again! I told you, at the time I was obsessed with it before and after it came out.
I’ve always wondered why in the world I wanted to watch this movie so much, because beforehand I wasn’t really interested in the 1920-30’s crime wave, but then once I got into John Dillinger’s story, I somehow got into Bonnie and Clyde afterwards so I’ve been trying to rack my brain for the answer in the last several years! I do have a theory though, maybe it was because John Dillinger was a Hoosier native, because once I found out that piece of information I just searched for anything I could find, so in other words I screwed myself of how the movie would end in a way.
Side note: I totally forgot Christian Bale was in it! I was doing the list and he popped up on the credits and I was like, yeah that makes sense! Oops!
The Runaways – 2011 starring Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning
I do remember how I got into this movie. When they were doing promo for the Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Jimmy Kimmel had invited the entire cast to be on the show and he had mentioned that both Kristen and Dakota were doing this film together about the 70’s all female rock band The Runaways.
Once it finally came out, I actually had mom rent it for me and I’ve been obsessed with her ever since! I think Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett was a very good choice as she’s a little naturally awkwardly shy but passionate too and you get that right away. I’m not too familiar with the real story of the ladies of the band and their rise to fame, but I thought it was interesting all the way around.
The Theory of Everything – 2014 starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, and David Twelis
If you are a long time reader, you already know of my thoughts and opinions about this movie, but for those of you who don’t. It is one of my favorite biopics ever! I think everybody who was involved in making this story come alive was amazing!
I have to say what I said in my What’s The Point Of Acting post, that Eddie Redmayne is only a good choice because they needed to show the progress of Stephan’s condition from the start to the present. At the start of it, you get little hints of it showing up in the way he picks up things and definitely in the dance scene, where his hand is awkwardly shaped in her hand.
As the story goes on, you also start to see the dynamic change of narrative of the characters. The movie is about Stephan and his first wife Jane’s relationship and how she respected his wishes to continue living and proving his theories in the scientific world. So I have to give Felicity Jones as much credit as I do with Eddie in her role of Jane Hawking too.
Straight Outta Compton – 2014 starring Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, and O’Shea Jackson Jr.
I always have a soft spot for musical biopics, and apparently I still have a thing for 80’s rap music. That’s what happens when your mother was a teenager in that time, as a child it was a custom to fall in love with that kind of music as it wasn’t until I was about seven or eight when I started listening to music and my tastes flourished. She had a LOT of great rap music at one point, just don’t ask me what she listens to now because it’s definitely not this.
It took me a bit to finally watch the movie. I felt like I had to wait a whole year because there was so much hype behind it. When it landed on HBO I was very happy, but I still can’t believe it came out in 2014, I thought it was like last year! I can’t keep anything straight anymore! I also thought the actor who played Ice Cube was a random guy that looked like Ice Cube. Don’t worry, my mom set me straight after I finished with the film that he was his son and it totally makes so much sense now!
The Danish Girl – 2015 starring Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander
Yes, I have two movies that star Eddie Redmayne on this list. This was another I had to wait a bit to see as well because from all of the hype for it.
I had fun trying to figure out information for this one, because it’s loosely based off the real Danish girl: Lili Elbe, the first person to have sex reassessment surgery in 1930. The film was about her as a male coming to terms with her women-ly side as Lili, it was also about her relationship with her wife Gerda Gottlieb throughout the process of transitioning. I thought it was a beautiful movie!
I Saw The Light – 2015 starring Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen
I’m still shocked I decided to watch this as I’m not into country music. I do have my tendencies every once in a while, but like I said with talking about Straight Outta Compton, I have a weakness for music biopics. I mean, I do have three of them on this list alone!
I had some issues with Tom Hiddleston playing Hank Williams, mostly because Tom is a British actor but I thought overall he did pretty good. This is another artist that I don’t know much about, but I do know the story of how he died though, so I kind of went into willing and came out with a new respect for this person. You know the crazy part is, I actually recognized quite a few of these songs and I’m pretty sure dad’s only watched it once! He’s the old country music fan compared to my sister who mostly goes for the younger ones (plus Tim McGraw but he never ages!).
Jackie – 2016 starring Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard
This is the most recent movie I’ve seen, I actually watched it back in September or early October.
I still watch reruns of anything about the Kennady’s on TV. I find that entire family so interesting! I’ve always thought of Jackie Kennady as a strong woman before I saw this film, like how was judged for the fact on how much money she spent on clothes as she loved French designers. The woman lost two of her children, three as John Kennady Jr. died in 1999 as caused by a plane crash with his wife Carolyn. Anyways, I thought Natalie Portman did a fantastic job in bringing this strong women to live again for the younger generations. Although, the story of Jackie is different than you’d expect as it’s about the after how Jackie acted after the assassination of her husband in Dallas, Texas in 1963.
What are your favorite biographical movies? Have you seen any of the films listed above?