I’ve said it before and I know I’ll say it again: I’m a sucker for “true story” films. I recently watched two (the first two on the list below) that blew my mind, and now I feel compelled to spread the word.

 

Three Identical Strangers – I have several people in my family who were adopted, including my husband and our daughter. Because of this, I’ve always been a little obsessed with the “nature versus nurture” debate. When Three Identical Strangers came out and quickly became one of the top-grossing documentaries of all time (along with RBG and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? –we’re in quite the documentary boom right now!), I was intrigued but admittedly scared to watch it because I knew it had a unique take on whether it’s one’s genes or upbringing that most influences their personality. The movie follows triplets who were separated at birth and reunited after a chance encounter when they’re 19. And it just gets weirder and more astonishing from that point forward. Don’t read anything else about it, just see it. I’m glad I finally did, even though it put me through the emotional wringer.

 

American Animals – This movie is wild — I haven’t seen anything like it in a long time. It’s a part-dramatized true story, part-documentary about four college students involved in an art heist from Transylvania University in 2004. While actors play the group of friends and show how they pulled it off 14 years ago, there are also scenes with the real people involved — both in interview format and in sequences alongside the actors portraying their younger selves. It’s a trip. And the heist itself shows how frighteningly easy it can be for privileged, impressionable and bored 20 year olds to bow to peer pressure even though their inner voices were screaming at them to back out of the plan.

 

Tag – I still can’t believe this one’s a true story. It’s about a group of childhood friends who have been playing a game of tag for THREE DECADES. Just stop and think about that for a second. The logistics are mind-boggling! Anyway, when one of them (played by Jeremy Renner) decides he wants to end the tradition due to his upcoming wedding, the others (played by Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Hannibal Buress and Jake Johnson) are not having it.

 

Adrift – Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin portray Tami Ashcraft and Richard Sharp, two experienced sailors who set out on a journey from Tahiti to San Diego in 1983 … but sailed right into the eye of Hurricane Raymond. 

 

 

 

Man on Wire / The Walk: The Triumphant True Story – Yep, here we actually have two films about the same subject: Phillippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire walk between the New York City’s Twin Towers. Man on Wire won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and The Walk is a thrilling dramatization directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit. Did somebody say double feature?

 

What’s the craziest true story you’ve ever seen depicted on film?