If you know me personally, you will know that I am totally not a film person. I find it really hard to sit and concentrate for a long time, focusing on just the film. However, with that being said, the main type of film I love to watch are the ones based on true stories. I have found that they are the ones to have a lasting impact on me. They are the ones that I can fully focus on and enjoy. I also think that films are a great way to translate someone’s story or battle, and it can teach and educate so many people. So I wanted to share in this post, six films and a tv show that are all based on true stories. You can find all of these on Netflix and I highly suggest you give them a watch.
I’m no good at describing what films are about so instead of you reading my dreadful explanation, I have taken their summaries from online and added them into this post so that you can get the best summary.
WHEN THEY SEE US
T.W. – Rape and assault
‘In 1989 a jogger was assaulted and raped in New York’s Central Park, and five young people were subsequently charged with the crime. The quintet, labeled the Central Park Five, maintained its innocence and spent years fighting the convictions, hoping to be exonerated. This limited series spans a quarter of a century, from when the teens are first questioned about the incident in the spring of 1989, going through their exoneration in 2002 and ultimately the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.’
This is the only TV show I have mentioned in this post but I couldn’t just do films when this show exists. When everyone was sharing resources to educate those on the Black Lives Matter movement, I saw this appearing a lot. It was already on my list at the time, but I thought it was a better time than any to watch it. This TV show is only four episodes, each just over an hour. And it is such a powerful story.
I wouldn’t recommend watching this all in one go because it’s a lot to take in. It took me about a week to finish the show and I’m happy with how I timed it because it still has a lasting impact on me now.
The story is completely devastating from the first 30 minutes in episode one. And It’s difficult to comprehend that this happened. It happened in the 80s, not that long ago, and it happened to teenagers, people younger than me. So it’s a very powerful story and it only highlights the injustices that still happen now, that we just don’t see.
I think everyone needs to watch this at least once. The whole production and composition of each episode is immaculate and I think everyone should know this story.
T.W. – Rape
‘Brian Banks, a former American football player, was falsely accused and arrested for raping his classmate. Things change when a criminal defense lawyer and his team uncovers the truth.’
This is one of the more recent films I’ve watch and it was amazing. The whole construction of the film was so well done and I thought that the actors did a great job.
Again, just like all of these films, it’s a devastating story. With this one though, it is from the perspective of Brian Banks, so you see the impact this accusation has on every aspect of his life.
What I will say about this film though, is that it’s hopeful. Without giving too much away, it shows the power you still have to change your life. And also how there are people out there who want what’s right and won’t give up until you get there. Although there aren’t enough people like this in the world, because injustices still happen, I think that this film offers so much hope.
‘Erin, a single mother, becomes a legal assistant and comes across a case against Pacific Gas and Electric. When she discovers that the company is poisoning a city’s water supply, she seeks justice.‘
I have been meaning to watch this film for years and I finally got around to it a couple of months back. And it’s just as good as everyone says it is. It not only tells such an incredible story but it still manages to incorporate a bit of humour into it, which I think is great.
It’s so hard to describe this film because it is so complex. But you need to watch it. It’s frightening to think that this was real and that no one did anything about it for years, given the devastating impact it had on families. But this story of Erin Brockovich and everything she did to seek justice is just incredible.
Also Julia Roberts plays Erin Brockovich in this film and she is incredible in every way. It’s so engaging and the ending is one of my favourites of all time.
T.W. – terrorist attacks, PTSD, shootings, bombings
‘A dramatisation of Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack, in which a right-wing extremist murders 77 teens at a youth camp in 2011.’
Before watching this film, I was already aware of this terrorist attack through watching other documentaries but this was on my list for a while. My family and I watched it and I think we could all agree that it was a truly devastating story.
This film shows the entire story of this attack. From the building up to it, what the victims’ lives were live before it happened, all the way up until the legal action and the long term impacts. It’s a film that was really well composed, but it is a difficult one to watch given the plot.
What I will say about this film though, is that the ending isn’t all sad. There is a particular scene that comes to mind when our main character chooses life. They chose to move past what’s happened, the guilt, the injuries and they chose to fight and live. The ending of the film also shows what the real people are up to now and with it being such a recent event, I think people should know what happened and how it has changed so many people’s lives.
‘Louis Zamperini, a US Olympic track record holder, pulls himself through a plane crash in the Second World War only to be left at the mercy of nature and eventually caged up as a prisoner of war.‘
I had never heard this story before watching this film, but it was amazing. A bit of a slow burner, but a lot happens to our main character. They face so many hardships and it felt like things were only getting worse for them.
What I loved most about this film was all the incredible quotes in it. So many demonstrating struggle and hope. And there is a particular scene that everyone will remember from this film. If you’ve seen it, you will know what it is. But I don’t want to spoil it.
I’m trying not to say too much about this film because I really think more people need to watch it. It’s a story I had no idea about and I really wish I knew more about it sooner.
THE IMITATION GAME
‘Alan Turing, a British mathematician, joins the cryptography team to decipher the German enigma code. With the help of his fellow mathematicians, he builds a machine to crack the codes.’
Perhaps my favourite film of all time and one I could watch over and over again. As most of you know, I am pretty into maths, I plan to study mathematics next year at university. And when it came to writing my personal statement last year, I actually read the book that this film was based on, all about Alan Turing’s life. I then proceeded to watch the film, one I know my dad loves. And I did too, fall in love with the film.
I think everyone should know the name Alan Turing and this film shows perfectly everything he did for the war. Despite challenges and doubts, he was the one that saved millions of lives. It’s crazy to think that Bletchley Park was concealed from the public for so so many years and that the life of Alan Turing ended so sadly. But people need to know what he did.
This film just gives me all the feels and Benedict Cumberbatch is incredible as Alan Turning, so please, if you haven’t seen this film… watch it!
‘Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist and member of the Nazi party, tries to save his Jewish employees after witnessing the persecution of Jews in Poland.’
If you like films and stories about the Second World War, then you will really like this film. Much like Unbroken, it is a story I had no idea about but I really wish I had known about it sooner.
It is a long film, about 3 hours so just be aware of that, but definitely watch it in one sitting. A lot happens and it is pretty quick-paced.
This film basically runs through the build-up of the Holocaust. From Jews getting moved from ghettos to Auschwitz, but it follows the perspective of a German businessman. Although a member of the Nazi party, Oskar Schindler attempts to save Jews from being killed in so many tragic ways. And he was a real person. Especially when you get to the end of the film, you see the lasting impact his actions have on today’s society and how many lives and generations he actually saved.
It’s a very upsetting film and it will definitely make you think about the events of World War Two, but I think everyone should know this film and this story.
This was a very different blog post for me, but I hope you enjoyed it. I would love to know if you have seen any of these films and what your thoughts were in the comments!
Lots of love,