Ripped from the headlines
This chapter examines biopics taken from contemporary news stories. Headliner biopics divide into two sub-categories: crusader-for-justice and criminal-victim narratives. In both instances, the films are hybrids of the biopic and the social problem film, dealing with contemporary social issues. Crusader-for-justice films focus on a heroic individual who fights to right some form of inequality, whereas the criminal variation deals with a person accused of a crime who is treated unfairly. Films analyzed in this chapter are I Want to Live! (Robert Wise, 1958), Silkwood (Mike Nichols, 1983), Boys Don’t Cry (Kimberly Peirce, 1999), Erin Brockovich (Steven Soderbergh, 2000), and Monster (Patty Jenkins, 2003).