Bruce Pierini’s Counter Review of “The Trial of the Chicago Seven”

I agree with people who hate inaccurate, entertainment- shaped historical portrayals, so I’m not sure why I am so willing to accept this one warts and all. Maybe it’s desperation for a happy ending. “West Wing” (another Sorkin production) and “Madame Secretary” filled the same function. Madame Secretary and the United States solved some pretty major (and real) global problems all in one episode–it was my Sunday night bedtime story. Would Bruce and my other friends dislike it less if the Slate fact/fiction sorter followed the film? I have to admit that the reading of the 5,000 names and the court audience standing in unison was a stretch (“I don’t remember that” I thought with bewilderment) but c’mon wasn’t it wonderful? as the Beach boys sang “Wouldn’t It Be Nice…?” Here’s Bruce’s review

This movie, which I initially enjoyed, after reading the Slate and NYT review, makes me feel “had.” It pinpoints my problems with this kind of historical reconstruction. The Slate review, in particular, points out so many differences, many I consider very important, the movie has compared to the real historical account. Sorry, Susan, but for me the admonition “It’s entertainment” does not soften my objection to this functionalization of real and important historical events. I’ve had this problem with a number of historical “make-over” movies. The recent one which was about Churchill during the war and has the actor talking to people in the subway (which never happened) is not central so for me, unobjectionable. Maybe the background of Trump, with his saying Churchill spoke from the rooftops to the British during the bombing (to which he alluded to himself!) really has raised my hackles about an amnesic American public without any real sense of history. I think a good example of a biopic which adheres closely to the real story AND is entertaining, is The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turing during WWII (2014).

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