I like watching movies that are true stories or at least movies based on true stories. Recently I saw two movies that were based on true stories and they were so good that I wanted to share. These movies are “The Good Lie” starring Reece Whitherspoon and “McFarland USA”.
McFarland USA is a true story about a predominately Hispanic community in Southern California that overcomes some incredible odds. Generations of pickers have a life changing future because of a coach (played by Costner). The movie is about the high school students and their cross country team. If you are runner you will especially love this story. I used to run. OK, I was actually a slow jogger, but I did run Cross Country all through Middle School and High School. This movie had me on my feet cheering for a good outcome. I wanted so badly for all of these kids to be successful. You will have to see the movie to find out. I always love how they provide the info about where the people are now and what they are doing- since it is a true story. Be sure to hang around at the end of the movie to see where they are at and how this experience affected them long term (or not).
McFarland was actually made by Disney. This is not some cheesy kids movie though. Well worth the time to see this one if you like true stories, and especially stories that uplift. It is a mostly friendly family movie (not for the younger ones as they wouldn’t understand much of it), but it is only rated PG. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a high score of 80%, which is unheard of because that site seems to hate most movies in general.
“The Good Lie” starring Reece Witherspoon came out in 2014, is rated PG-13, and was given a whopping 88% by Rotten Tomatoes. Amazing since I didn’t even know that before I started writing this review. This is a movie based on true events.
Roger Ebert gave a great description of the movie. I have now watched this movie twice, as it was so good. Here is a clip from his review. You can read his full article here: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-good-lie-2014
“You heard of a feel-good movie? This is a feel-right movie. The truths that are rooted in “The Good Lie” are exactly what set it free from the trap of being the latest example of Hollywood-generated inspirational hogwash. Not that this intimate account of how a band of Sudanese orphans survived a bloody civil war (which raged on for more than two decades starting in 1983) and managed to forge a fresh start in America years later isn’t uplifting. How could it not be?
But instead of settling for being simplistic and condescending, this moving story possesses an honesty that compensates for any of the more obvious tugs on our tear ducts, most of which arrive in the latter part of the film. The primary source of this authenticity is a cast populated with South Sudanese actors who captivate without pretense. Two of the three male leads, as well as the actress who plays their sister, were caught up in the conflict before fleeing their homeland for asylum elsewhere. One was a child soldier, the other two lost relatives in the war.
An innate understanding of what their parts entail pours forth from their very being. You can sense it in their faces, their body language, in the distinctive cadence of their speech, and in their humble though dignified stances. Even the younger versions of their characters are the offspring of the so-called “Lost Boys of Sudan.””