As you might imagine, basing a movie on a true story still requires a bit of creative tweaking. Real life doesn’t move in the same way that cinema does. Real life is a series of seemingly mundane activities happening in an unorganized, disconnected manner. Movie plots, on the other hand, must always move forward, eliminating awkward moments of silence and introspection and keeping the audience in a perpetual state of entertainment.
Yet, when a film is rooted in real-life events, it shoulders the responsibility of fostering the audience’s need for escapism and society’s right to the preservation of truth. Many films fall short of this goal. For example, The Independent notes that Alan Turing’s Oscar award-winning film “The Imitation Game” scored 41.4% for its historical accuracy. “The Wolf of Wall Street,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, racked up a percentage of 74.6.
Dee Lockett of Slate took her time sifting through the finite details of “Selma” in order to challenge or prove its historical accuracy. What she found was an uncanny resemblance to real events like Bloody Sunday and real-life relationships like the one that existed between Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King. Director DuVernay claims to have relied on media imagery, interviews, reports, and newspaper clippings to recreate these groundbreaking historical events and bring them back to life onscreen.