Must See Bio-Pics!

3 Jul

By LIH Staff

Biographical feature films (also known as bio-pics) were once popular in Hollywood. Remember from 2000 Erin Brockovich or most recently The Social Network?  These great films informed and inspired audiences. Every month LIH’s staff will put in our vote for a “must see” film as an exercise to hone our cinephile senses we will review films with positive buzz by word of mouth. Today our focus and discussion will be on “bio-pics.” We hope you enjoy!

The Hurricane: by Open Book

Released in 1999 this bio-pic chronicles the incredible true life story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter where in 1966, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was a top-ranked middleweight boxer whom many fans expected to become the world’s greatest champion in boxing. Yet his life was interrupted by a conviction for a Paterson, New Jersey triple murder where he spent nearly 20 years in prison. Narrating Carter’s life, the film concentrates on the period between 1966 and 1985. The film stars Denzel Washington who was nominated for an academy award for his amazing portrayal of Hurricane Carter. What I loved about this film is the glowing depiction of the resilience of humanity that extends beyond skin color or political affirmation. This is a good old-fashion mesmerizing drama about the potent force of small incremental doses of hope. Definitely a “must see.”

Behind The Candelabra: by Parisienne

This film was released May 2013. I chose this film because the story between Liberace and Scott Thorson is superbly told through the acting of Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson.  The reason I loved this film and believe is worth seeing is due to the detail of the costumes and production design, which was astoundingly intricate and believable.

Gandhi-by Ozzie

I always judge a film, if it has a historical element to it, on whether it has inspired me to go and find out more information about the subject. Gandhi is a long film, it runs for 3 hours and 11 minutes (in the version I watched it had an intermission half way though). The film depicts Mahatma Gandhi’s life from 1893, when he was thrown off a train in South Africa for sitting in 1st class even though he had bought a ticket (at the time 1st class was only for white people), which led him to him to become a non-violent protestor and a prominent figure for the Indian Independence movement, right through to his assassination in 1958. It was directed by Richard Attenborough and starred Ben Kingsley (as Gandhi), Edward Fox, Sir John Mills, Martin Sheen, Rohini Hattangadi, Geraldine James and Candice Bergan. Daniel Day-Lewis also has a small part in it! The cinematography is beautiful, as is the film’s score. Ben’s portrayal of Gandhi is amazing. Even though he is soft spoken his words still carry weight. He’s not portrayed as a saint like figure but rather as a man who is just like the rest of us. We see his funny side, his optimism and the love he has of the people around him, yet we also see his struggle to lead and to do the right thing, his frustrations when protestors use violence and his sadness over the many deaths and the split of India when his goal of Indian independence is achieved. The film’s screen writer, John Briley has also done great work on the script. The British are shown as both negative and positive figures. It doesn’t shy away from the oppression and brutality the British dished out, but it shows many British people helping India’s fight for independence and also the conflict of those in power but agree with Gandhi’s cause (a particularly noteworthy performance is by Trevor Howard who plays the judge in Gandhi’s sedition trial). Also the tension between Hindus and Muslims is portrayed well. It’s not one dimensional either and you see both sides angry yet frightened of the changes and the division of the country.

It is obvious that this film is labour of love for Richard Attenborough. With his care and attention and the talent of the amazing cast and crew, a beautiful and inspiring film was created about one of the world’s most fascinating person! It deserves all the awards it won and it still maintains an 88% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes despite it being made in 1982. I could talk a lot more about this film and quote many of Gandhi’s quotes but we could be here for days! Going off my own rule I would recommend this movie as it has me hungry to learn more. However I recommend this film not just for the historical portrayal but also for its message which still applies now, maybe even more so with all of the political unrest going on in the world. Even though we inflict many terrible things onto other people, we are capable to solve disputes in a non-violent way if we put our minds to it. Gandhi sums it up best “Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.”

43 Responses to “Must See Bio-Pics!”

  1. ozzie20 July 3, 2013 at 7:10 PM #

    Hello everyone!

    There was something else that I forgot to add in my pick but I can’t remember what it is! I hopefully I’ll remember it soon, lol.

    • ozzie20 July 3, 2013 at 10:11 PM #

      I remembered it! Dispite the length of the movie I was never bored!

      • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 6:35 PM #

        ITA This film will not bore u. I’m really glad u selected this film. I’m going to watch it this weekend. Its been awhile since I’ve seen this film. Thanks for the great review.

  2. ozzie20 July 3, 2013 at 7:22 PM #

    I can’t believe I forgot The Social Network! I thought I had no biopics in my DVD collection. I adore that film, everything about it is well done. The music,cinematography, directing, set design, the costumes, the script and the acting… It’s perfect! Erin Brockovich is also very good!

    I haven’t seen The Hurricane but it looks good so I’ll be adding that to my “Must Watch” list. Behind The Candelabra, the DVD better hurry! I can’t wait to watch this!

    • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 6:51 PM #

      I’m glad u selected Gandhi though. I know I almost selected those films but then opted to watch The Hurricane. It really has a great message of transcending your circumstance, hope and forgiveness. Love it!

      • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 7:50 PM #

        I’ll love it then!

        • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:57 PM #

          U will u really will I think. If u don’t then u can blame me.

  3. parisienne July 3, 2013 at 9:19 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

    Behind the Candelabra is Steven Soderbergh’s last film for a while. The film was also nominated for the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival.

    • ozzie20 July 3, 2013 at 10:18 PM #

      I still can’t believe it won’t be nominated for any major U.S. film awards. It will wipe the floor in the major awards that feature TV movies though! I think it’ll be a safe bet it’ll be nominated for the BAFTA’s and I want it to win every category it’s nominated in just as a final blow to the big shots who refused to distribute it to cinemas, lol!

      • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

        “I want it to win every category it’s nominated in just as a final blow to the big shots who refused to distribute it to cinemas, lol!”

        Hahaha! I love u Oz!

        I thought it made like 4.5 mil in theaters in the UK?

        • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 7:55 PM #


          I’ve no idea much much it made but as it was a limited release here that is pretty good!

    • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 6:57 PM #


      I must see this film now. Thanks for selecting a biopic from this year too. U are the only one who followed the rules. What do u want for a prize?

  4. Open Book July 4, 2013 at 6:58 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

    Happy 4th to our US visitors.

    • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 8:31 PM #

      Happy 4th of July!

  5. Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:05 PM #


    Can u name all the biopics you’ve seen and liked in the last two years?

    • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:10 PM #

      I will go first.

      1. Lincoln-2012
      2. 42-2013
      3. My Week with Marilyn-2011

      • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 7:45 PM #

        1) Apollo 13
        2) La Vie En Rose
        3) Coco Before Chanel
        4) Lincoln (I finally got the dvd woo hoo!)
        5) Nowhere Boy (I need to watch it again as I only saw bits and pieces)
        6) The Aviator (same as Nowhere Boy. I like the bits I saw!)
        7) Boys Don’t Cry
        8) Catch Me If You Can
        9) Shattered Glass
        10) Walk The Line
        11) Bronson
        12) Red Cliff
        13) The Young Victoria
        14) The King’s Speech

        I can’t trust my memory, I had to use this.
        I’ve never thought I was much of a biopic film fan. Turns out I am! Those are only the ones I know I’ve watched in the past 2 years and like too.

        • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:54 PM #

          APPLAUSE!!!! See Biopics get a bad rap. Great list BTW. Very great list. I will go to see a movie with u any day Oz.

          • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 7:58 PM #

            Yay and a ditto for you too! 🙂

            I forgot one (which I’m kicking myself over because I adore the soundtrack), The Great Debaters.

            • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 8:06 PM #

              I love that film of course. Hahaha! How about “The Queen?”

              • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 8:20 PM #

                I have seen it but not in the last two years. From what I remember of it, I liked it!

                • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 8:28 PM #

                  Do u prefer biopics about unique individuals who overcame adverse situations etc…? For example I like Helen Keller.

                  • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 8:34 PM #

                    Yes, those are the most inspiring ones!

  6. Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:14 PM #

    What about Argo? Did u like this film? Would u consider it a biopic?

    • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 7:19 PM #


      I think I finally got the right day (although my brain is still insisting that it is friday), lol!

      • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:21 PM #

        U got it right Oz! Your brain is AMAZING BTW. How are u?

        • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 7:23 PM #

          LOL! Apart from an itchy arm, I’m good! How are you?

          • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:28 PM #

            Ginger root for your itchy arm. I’m good. Much better now that I got a little sleep. I’ve been relaxing reading and writing. Yes! I’m just great!

            • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 7:47 PM #

              That’s good to hear!

              I might have to go get some ginger tea. Pretty sure my neighbour is drunk and crashing into things, it’s giving me a headache!

              • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:51 PM #

                Oh! No…….That bad neighbor of yours. Yes! Ginger tea is good for headache.

                • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 8:58 PM #

                  Lol. He/they (they’re new and I haven’t met them yet but I know that at least one man has moved in) are actually very good, I very rarely hear them so I don’t mind much. Tonight’s was about 15 minutes of what sounded like them trying to get upstairs and into bed but crashed into every object they come across. Someone definately bumped into the doors and the wardrobe but at least they still sounded happy after! Lol!

    • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 7:22 PM #

      I could of sworn I posted my hello in a new box thing rather the reply box! Nevermind, lol!

      I would consider it a biopic even if it did miss out a few details. I liked it too. I tear up at the plane scene everytime!

      • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:25 PM #

        Yes! I would say it was too. I almost selected that film too. Haha!

  7. Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:35 PM #

    I know we’ve discussed this already on another article. However, I’m angry the Liberace film was not released in theaters in the US. They did not even bother to do a limited release. Do u think marketing has to be more creative for films like these?

    • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 8:17 PM #

      I kind of get the feeling that the makers of Behind The Candelabra did practically every trick they knew of to sell it. I think it’s more to do with not having any movie big shots brave enough to take a chance on it.

  8. Open Book July 4, 2013 at 7:48 PM #


    Do u think Gandhi is one of the best biopics ever made? What is it about that film that made it so compelling?

    • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 8:13 PM #

      Yes. I would definately put it very high up on my best biopic movies ever made list anyway. For me, I think it’s because there this one very wise man who shows up the British Military and governors. It’s almost comical to see them huff and puff and throw their toys out of their pram while Gandhi is just calmly protesting. You want to see him and his followers win just for that! Plus when you’re used to seeing violent protesting (especially now with what is going on in Syria and Egypt), coming across peacefull protest is exotic. You want to know more about how it works and whether it is effective or not.

      • Open Book July 4, 2013 at 8:24 PM #

        “You want to see him and his followers win just for that! Plus when you’re used to seeing violent protesting (especially now with what is going on in Syria and Egypt), coming across peacefull protest is exotic.”

        ITA Oz! I think peaceful demonstration makes u ask more questions than violent protest. The civil rights movement is another non-violent protest which was inspired by Gandhi’s 1948 protest.

        • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 8:43 PM #

          Yes! With violence you’re so caught up in hate and anger, you rarely make any rational and good choices. You just end up acting like neanderthals, jumping up and down, beating you chest and hiting anything in sight! With peacefull protests you can see when you’ve won and not push it futher. You can pick and chose where and what you’re fighting for. Most importantly you realise that you will never get what you fully want and that both sides really need to give and take if they want to live peacefully.

  9. Open Book July 4, 2013 at 8:39 PM #


    I’m going to go or the night. I might go see some fireworks IDK or I might read about them. Hahaha! Great talking to u Oz!


    • ozzie20 July 4, 2013 at 9:00 PM #

      I hope you have fun tonight! I had a great time talking to you too! I’ll be off now to finish my tea before I forget about it, lol.

  10. Jerry Holden July 12, 2013 at 8:08 AM #

    The final act does slightly head down the road of cliche but that can be forgiven. This is a delightful slice of entertainment with two fantastic central performances. So now we can ask…is this Soderbergh’s final film? Or are we expecting another soon? Let’s hope it isn’t because this is a man who fully understands his subject matter and can make a wonderfully impressive biopic. He will be sorely missed.

  11. Maureen York July 12, 2013 at 3:37 PM #

    If Behind The Candelabra is indeed Steven Soderbergh’s swansong, it’s a great one. But is this really it? Is he actually retiring? He is according to Damon, the frequent collaborator (they also made The Informant! and the three Ocean’s 11 films together) who publicly blabbed about the director’s intention in the wake of a conversation they’d had during a night out. Is he still speaking to Damon?

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