I unfortunately have not seen any of the recent movies referred to in Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott’s article "Confronting the Fact of Fiction and the Fiction of Fact" but I do have a fairly strong stance when it comes to what a movie is and if it should held responsible for how factual it is. Movies first and foremost are a source of entertainment. This entertainment can be completely imagined and have very little to do with actual events like one of my favorite movies “Up”. Movies can also be very historically accurate like the TV mini-series “John Adams”. (Not a movie, but still very historically accurate) Most films however end up being somewhere in the middle. My view on how factual a movie needs to be is not factual at all. In fact I prefer movies that are not exactly historically accurate because it challenges people to see an event in a particular and often new way, which helps to illustrate a point more vividly to society.
A movies are called “motion pictures” not “motion facts” and should be viewed as such. Some movies use the phase “based on a true story” which is entirely true, the movie may have some historical elements but the important thing is that they never claimed to be an exact replica of the historical event. Not to mention history was made by humans and therefore possibly skewed or rewritten. There may be cases where the “lie” in the movie may be closer to the actual untold truth then what is commonly believed by popular society. There may be cases where the story is simply better when told with the “lies”. But the important thing to remember in that directors and playwrights, are not supposed to be the gatekeepers of fact, truth and justice. They are our societies imaginative and colorful storytellers, to limit their true purpose would be a horrible mistake.
To the people who cant get enough “motion facts” in their daily lives I propose that they should start some type of private rating agency that reviews movies based solely on their historical content. They could rate movies on a scale of zero to ten: ten being completely historically correct and zero being not a single correct fact. They could list their reasoning for each point given or taken away on their web site for people who have questions about their scoring.