Biopics are taking over our media

Has Hollywood run out of ideas?


“House of Gucci” main characters, starring well-known celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, and Jared Leto.

Creativity seems to have been zapped from our cinemas recently with the ever-increasing abundance of biopics in theaters. Audiences seem sick of this genre, so why are more biopics being released than ever before?

The word biopic is an abbreviation of “biographical picture,” meaning it shares a real person’s life story with the audience. Some recent biopics have had outstanding reviews, such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Rocketman“; although these two did well with audiences and even got Rami Malek awarded his first Oscar for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, the past couple of years have brought some questionable biopics to our screens.

“The flood of biopics isn’t surprising,” Tim Gray wrote in an article for Variety. “The explosion of reality TV in the 21st century and the growing interest in documentaries indicates the viewing public has a huge appetite for facts in their entertainment.”

The movie poster for “Blonde” (2022) features Ana de Armas with Marilyn’s classic makeup look. (Netflix)

A few recent controversial biopics include “Blonde,” “Elvis,” and “House of Gucci,” all of which have received more than their fair share of harsh reviews from critics.

“Blonde,” released Sept. 16 and directed by Andrew Dominik, has been out for just over a month, yet is already one of the most detested films of the year. Marilyn Monroe was relentlessly over-sexualized and dehumanized her whole life, and the film continues to do just that to her image; it skips over her personality and focuses instead on her body and her trauma, giving the entire film an extraordinarily sexist feel.

“I found the movie very disrespectful,” senior Salma Abdullah said. “When the movie was first announced, I was truly so excited, but when I saw that the director was a man, I was hesitant.”

The promotional poster for “Elvis” (2022) features Austin Butler in his costume. (Elvis 2022)

“Elvis,” released June 24, had overwhelmingly positive reviews but was still exceptionally controversial with audiences. The film portrayed Elvis Presley in a positive light and focused on the aesthetic of 1950s rock-n-roll while ignoring Presley’s flaws. The movie features a romantic shot where he and his love interest Priscilla first kiss, when in reality, Presley was a fully grown 24-year-old man in the war kissing a 14-year-old girl.

“I think [the filmmakers] focused on aesthetic to sell tickets,” movie club member Kyle Reece said. “Realistically, your average Joe wouldn’t enjoy a movie that platforms Presley’s true nature.”

“House of Gucci” has split reviews from audiences, with the main criticisms being the film’s two-hour-40-minute runtime as well as the inaccuracies in the film. None of the Gucci heirs were consulted before production began, which led to erroneous portrayals of the main characters as well as inaccuracy among the Gucci family’s brand.

“This is extremely painful from a human point of view and an insult to the legacy on which the brand is built today,” wrote the Gucci family regarding the biopic in a statement obtained by Variety.

When telling a story about real people, filmmakers must take their time and present the truth instead of adding drama to the story. Since producers think that audiences obsess over biopics, more and more are being produced each year, with “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” “Michael,” “Oppenheimer,” and “Going Electric,” to be released in the next few years. Hopefully, these upcoming films will take into account the criticisms of past biopics, but it’s expected that they will simply follow in the footsteps of these controversial films.