When a film claims to be based on a true story, we tend to assume that what we see on screen accurately portrays the real events and people involved. However, as the film industry has shown time and time again, that’s not always the case. ‘True story’ films often take liberties with the facts, whether for dramatic effect, to simplify complex events, or to make the story more palatable for audiences.
One such film that has been criticized for its inaccuracies is ‘Foxcatcher,’ the 2014 biopic about the Schultz brothers and their relationship with John du Pont, an eccentric millionaire who sponsored their wrestling careers. While the film received critical acclaim and was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, it has also been accused of misrepresenting the real-life events it purports to depict. Let’s take a closer look at five ways in which Foxcatcher may have lied to us and what the real story behind the film might have been.
Mark Schultz’s Olympic And World Championship Titles
In the movie, Mark Schultz, played by Channing Tatum, is portrayed as a struggling wrestler who is taken under John du Pont’s wing and trained to become a champion. But in reality, Schultz was already a world and Olympic champion before he ever met du Pont. The movie completely ignores Schultz’s previous successes and makes it seem like he owed everything to du Pont.
Losing The 1985 World Title
Another significant change the movie makes to Schultz’s story is the removal of his 1985 World Championship title. In real life, Schultz won the championship, but his character lost the match in the movie. It’s unclear why the director felt the need to make this change, but it certainly wasn’t accurate.
Schultz’s Emotional State
Throughout the movie, Schultz is portrayed as emotionally fragile and vulnerable, which leads du Pont, played by Steve Carell, to manipulate him. But in reality, Schultz was a tough athlete who had already achieved great success in his sport. The movie’s portrayal of him as weak and susceptible to du Pont’s influence is simply not accurate.
John du Pont As Mark Schultz’s Mentor
In the movie, Mark is shown as being in awe of John du Pont and looking up to him as a mentor and father figure. But in real life, Schultz has said that he never felt that way about du Pont. The movie’s portrayal of their relationship as a one-sided mentorship is entirely false.
The Relationship Between Characters
Perhaps the biggest problem with ‘Foxcatcher’ is that it creates a false narrative about the relationship between Schultz and du Pont. In the movie, du Pont is shown as manipulating Schultz into a non-consensual sexual relationship, which Schultz has vehemently denied. The movie’s portrayal of du Pont as a sexual predator is based on little evidence and is highly insulting to his memory.
While ‘Foxcatcher’ may be a well-made movie, it’s important to remember that it is not a documentary. The filmmakers took a lot of liberties with the truth, and the real-life Mark Schultz has been very vocal about the inaccuracies. As always, it’s important to make movies based on true stories with a grain of salt and do your own research if you want to know the real story.