The Harvey Milk biopic, Milk, opens this week with Sean Penn portraying the country's first openly gay man to be elected to public office. Long before Milk, however, there was another movie made about Harvey Milk: the riveting and Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk.
Certainly the dramatized versions of peoples' lives can be more entertaining than a straight documentary about them, but with biopics I sometimes find myself distracted by wondering whether particular parts of the movie are real or fudged a little. Then again, I'm probably more likely to watch a dramatized version of things, like Ray or even Erin Brokovich, than I am to actively seek out the facts on my own.
Where do you stand on this topic? Do you prefer the experts' views and firsthand accounts found in a documentary, or a feature film telling the story of someone's life with actors and theatrics?