Hollywood has all the time beloved biopics. With an astonishing 125 best picture nominations and 22 wins within the historical past of the Academy Awards, the style has proved to be a success with audiences. As a consequence of nostalgia, these movies are assured to drag massive crowds and the tales write themselves, contemplating that their tales are primarily based on historic occasions.
The biopic has been used and abused for too lengthy now, and after the discharge of current biopics, I’m formally completed with the style. Not solely are these motion pictures bland, however they distort the lives of actual individuals and don’t take into account the implications.
“Blonde” and “Elvis” are the 2 most talked about biopics of this 12 months, inciting diversified reactions from audiences. Whereas “Elvis” glorifies a determine by eradicating all his flaws, “Blonde” emphasizes Marilyn Monroe’s trauma only for the sake of exploitation.
“Blonde” is marketed as a biopic that follows the lifetime of Marilyn Monroe, however it’s truly primarily based on a fictional novel by Joyce Carol Oates, deceptive its viewers. It appears that evidently the author didn’t even like Marilyn due to the way in which she is portrayed.
This film isn’t solely exploitative of a determine who isn’t round to defend herself, but additionally blatantly lies about her life as a way to take away her company. The film paints Marilyn, performed by Ana de Armas, as somebody who was thrown round between males, always being assaulted and unable to take management of something in her personal life.
In actuality, when Marilyn wasn’t pleased with the way in which that she was handled, she began her personal production company. She actively fought in opposition to roles that solely portrayed her as a dumb blonde and was always working to advance her craft. The movie’s insinuation that she solely acquired to icon standing as a consequence of her sexual nature is disgusting.
“Blonde” has an NC-17 ranking and plenty of sexual scenes. One of many worst accommodates a graphic scene of sexual assult between Marilyn and President John F. Kennedy, which is only fictional. The scene solely exists to additional strip her of any management she might have in her personal life. Additionally, the connection between Marilyn and JFK is just imagined to have occurred. What the general public is aware of about their relationship is made up of tales from bystanders and assumptions.
This connects to one thing that I discovered in each the “Blonde” and “Elvis” biopics. The movies have a tendency to decide on components to elaborate on as an alternative of working with the thrilling tales that individuals truly need to see. “Blonde” didn’t want to point out JFK assaulting Marilyn, particularly when it might have simply elaborated on the scandalous relationship that will have existed between the 2.
“Elvis” equally paints the person as somebody who cared deeply about civil rights whereas additionally uncomfortably skimming over the implications of this narrative. It spends an unimaginable period of time displaying the direct affect that Black music had on Elvis and his type however doesn’t acknowledge the benefit that his whiteness gave him.
Earlier than we meet the Elvis that everybody is acquainted with, the movie exhibits us Elvis as a younger boy, sneaking right into a Black church and listening to their music. He’s instantly intrigued and begins to carry out with the opposite churchgoers. The movie portrays this as the precise second the place Elvis, performed by Austin Butler, realizes his true reward, as he can instantly carry out in addition to the Black individuals surrounding him.
The film exhibits the direct correlation between the setting that he grew up in and the elements of his type that made him well-liked. The half that’s lacking is why the Black singers that he realized from couldn’t have the identical success.
It exhibits him being torn about his inactivity within the civil rights motion, nevertheless it doesn’t present him dealing with this truth in any significant means. The movie solely exhibits discrimination to point out the way it harm Elvis as a result of individuals thought that his type was “too Black.”
“Elvis” additionally acts as if all of the Black singers that he realized from had been completely satisfied about his success when some vocally spoke out in opposition to his recognition. Little Richard, who is named the architect of rock n’ roll and influenced Elvis, has mentioned, “I consider that if Elvis had been Black, he wouldn’t have been as massive as he was. If I used to be white, have you learnt how large I’d be?”
Like Marilyn, Elvis undoubtedly had an attention-grabbing life, however the movie was too scared to dive into any of the true grit, so as an alternative, it settles on making up a battle for him. And for some motive, the makers of the movie thought the civil rights motion was the proper match.
The largest distinction between “Blonde” and “Elvis” is that “Elvis” had somebody to sanitize his picture for the sake of his legacy. Priscilla Presley speaks about her involvement within the movie, so it’s no shock that the movie refused to press on any questionable motion of Elvis. One such motion is her relationship with Elvis, which started when she was 14 and Elvis was 24.
The difficulty with biopics shouldn’t be solely their content material, however styling as properly. It’s nearly disappointing to see the gorgeous photographs and superior technical components wasted on tales that lack depth. However, sadly, type cannot make up for lack of substance. The cinematic type of “Elvis” deepens the divide between the person himself and the viewers, going in opposition to the everyday motivation of the biopic. Whereas “Blonde” took its try at grittiness too far by depicting brutal violence and trauma, “Elvis” makes the person a personality of himself by means of the dizzying glitter and vivid colours.
Artistry can solely go to this point when recreating musical numbers and performances that should go in opposition to the originals. Ana de Armas and Austin Butler went to nice lengths to embody their characters, however they nonetheless can’t seize the larger-than-life figures they painting.
The artistic groups behind these movies possess the technical talent to make nice motion pictures, however we’d like a concentrate on storytelling. So as an alternative of creating biopics that change probably the most important elements of the topic’s story, let’s simply make higher fiction.
Jameson Keebler writes primarily about popular culture and present occasions. Write to her at [email protected].