What Does It Take to Make a Good Biopic?

Biopics Have Had a Surge In Popularity; Do They Deserve It?

Linnea Sundquist, Entertainment Section Editor

In recent years the surge of biopic movies and TV shows has taken the big screen by storm. Biopics have become increasingly popular, especially with Elvis being released earlier this year. TV show biographical depictions are also very well received. TV shows like The Crown and The Dropout are some of the most popular out there. Even though biopics are incredibly popular among viewers, there are many factors in making an amazing biographical depiction of a person for the big screen. So what does it take to make a good biopic? 

One of the more important aspects of creating a biopic is finding the right actors. Not only does the actor have to somewhat resemble the person they are portraying, but they also have to depict them accurately. Some of my personal favorites are Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody and Andrew Garfield in Tick Tick… Boom. Both of these performances are what I want to see whenever I watch a biopic. Their performances were so raw and real and Garfield and Malek not only paid tribute to these characters but also made their spirits feel alive again. 


The storyline is also another important role in the making of these movies. I love when the storyline is accurate but sometimes I also love some other drama sprinkled in there too. In the recent biopic about Elvis Presley, Elvis, directed by Baz Luhrmann, there are a lot of accurate plotlines and facts in the movie but also Luhrmann’s classic flair in there as well. Luhrmann is famous for modernizing his period pieces such as adding modern music and jazzing up the story to make it more dramatic and interesting. Sometimes making up some parts of a story of a real person doesn’t always work, out of respect to the person that is being depicted in the film or TV show. I personally think that adding different plotlines or other details to a biopic isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just as long as the producers stay respectful to the person the story revolves around. 


Filmmaker’s shouldn’t shy away from expressing the good, the bad and the ugly about the protagonist. A biopic should be as authentic as possible and shouldn’t be sugar-coated or beat around the bush about some important aspects of the protagonist’s life. Films such as King Richard and The Social Network. These two films are great examples of authentic and accurate portrayals of their protagonists. This is a very important aspect I look for in a biopic, mainly because it allows the audience to see what actually happens behind the scenes in these people’s lives. 

Biopics are one of my favorite genres of movies and I love how this genre is gaining more popularity recently. Especially since I Want To Dance With Somebody, a biopic about Whitney Houston is getting released on December 21 later this year. Whether it’s a movie about a historical figure or about a famous musician, creating a biopic as authentically as possible shows respectful homage to the protagonist.