Posted on Monday, December 30th, 2019 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we check out some under-seen movies about real people like you and me, but you know, better known for doing stuff.)
The end of the year is often considered to be prestige season when it comes to movies as studios roll out their classiest films in the hope of winning awards and accolades. The topics run the gamut, but a major presence every year are the biopics — as in pictures about biological humans, presumably — and this year is no different. Richard Jewell, Harriet, Seberg, and Ford v Ferrari are just a few of the biopics opening in the last two months of 2019, and some of them are even well worth the praise they’ve been receiving. (Hint: it’s the one with the fast cars.)
Not all biopics have been as lucky, though, as a crowded field over the years has seen plenty of great ones fade into memory. That’s right, I’m still furious that so many of you slept on the masterpiece that is Borg vs McEnroe (2017). Lucky for you I’m here to point you towards a few of those lesser seen gems. So keep reading for a look at six of the best biopics you’ve probably never seen!
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“I want people to know your story.”
A Private War recognizes, in words, Marie Colvin’s ethos right from the get-go. Her mission, first and foremost, was to speak truth to power, unearthing the horrors bequeathed to civilians by leaders and governments. Rosamund Pike, who plays her in the film, repeats this mantra frequently, stressing the importance of telling individual stories from the world’s war-torn regions. Men buried in secret for decades (“Uncovered: the secret grave of 600 murdered Kuwaitis”); women sheltering their children from bombs (“Final dispatch from Homs, the battered city”); the drivers and translators who die while helping journalists write the rough draft of history (“Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice”) and so on.
And while the film understands what Colvin stood for, its focus is so narrow that it ends up a disservice to her regardless.
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Rosamund Pike should have been launched to stardom following her chilling role in 2014’s Gone Girl, for which she received an Oscar nod. But alas, life is unfair and that didn’t happen. But four years later, Pike stars in A Private War, the gritty biopic about renowned war correspondent Marie Colvin. Could this be the role that finally earns Pike her place as a bonafide movie star? We’ll have to wait and see.
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