Truth in Movies
Hello, I would like to share with you a couple of thoughts about movies that are based on true stories. The movies that immediately come to mind are 1) “Hatiko” and 2) “Titanic”.
1) I’m sure, you’re familiar with both of the stories and have seen the movies. “Hatiko” is indeed based on real events, however, in the original story the action took place in Japan but not in America, as it was shown in the movie, and the professor (the owner of the dog) was a Japanese man. Moreover, the film showed us that he found his pet in a package from Japan, though in reality he bought the dog (or in some other versions it was a gift from the daughter of the professor). In addition to these facts, Hatiko was not the only dog the professor owned (there were a couple of them), plus the director decided not to show how the dog got sick, and finally the name of the train station where Hatiko used to wait for his owner was Sibuya.
As you can see, a lot of things were changed: from the country where the action took place in the 1920s to the name of the station. Were those facts important for the movie in general? They would be if the shooting team was to film a documentary, but it is a fictional movie created for mass viewer. Therefore, it is assumed that such a story might happen in any country, with some other people and other pets.
I am sure that the movie reflects the real story and for me it is totally fine that the director decided to change some important facts so that the potential American viewer could understand it more personally.
2) Speaking about “Titanic”, we all know that the drowning of the cruise liner was real. However, the tragic love story of Rose and Jack was fictional. It was an idea of James Cameron to include them in the movie so that people could see how dramatic and, in fact, horrifying the events were. Though, a lot of secondary actors were real people, for example Thomas Andrews (Victor Garber), Molly Brown (Kathy Bates). Moreover, the older couple who went to their cabin so that they could leave together was not fictional.
Needless to say that everything shown in the movie was based on theories as nobody knew how it had happened in reality. Some of the scenes were exaggerated (for example the shooting in those who were trying to collect their belongings before going to the ships), however, I think that the director managed to show how dramatic and horrifying those events were.
In general, it is difficult to balance truth and fiction in films, but I believe that the goal of the fictional movies is to deliver the most important messages and ideas, elaborating some things and playing down on some details.