Peter Bart: After Election Season Where Truth Was Casualty, Hollywood Chases Truth With Fact-Based Films

Peter Bart: After Election Season Where Truth Was Casualty, Hollywood Chases Truth With Fact-Based Films
There’s a certain perversity in the decision to open “fact-based” movies at the close of an election season. After months of political noise, facts have become something like black holes in our public conversation – rhetoric in search of truth.

Still, having been trained as a newsman, I habitually welcome films like Green Book, The Front Runner, Roma and First Man — stories forcefully based on real lives and real events. Fact-based movies offer an authenticity and verisimilitude (that ugly word from school) that are missing from Hollywood dramas like A Star Is Born. But the genre also offers its own afflictions: Films can be pedantic, or by contrast, aggressively ambiguous, and hence particularly vulnerable to critics. Pure fiction can be attacked as dopey; a fact-based movie can be dismissed as “fake news.”

The healthiest antidote to months of political noise, of course, is to avoid the genre completely and bask in vintage MGM musicals,
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