Top 10 Movie Portrayals of Real People

We look at movie's best portrayals of real people...

Reality fascinates us, just look at the amount of reality TV shows. We’re drawn to stories about real people in real life with real problems. That’s why biopics and films based on truth are so popular. But with such popularity comes extra pressure on the actors. Now as well as doing what they’re usually paid for, they have to be especially careful – they have to be more believable than ever. So who in Hollywood manages to do it, and do it well? Take a look and see what we think.

10. Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel in Coco Before Chanel

Her performance is elegant and sophisticated, just like Chanel’s designs. Without a doubt, Tautou just has ‘something’, and your eyes are always drawn to her.

9. Leonardo Di Caprio as Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can

Frank was all about the charm, and Di Caprio has buckets of it. Even though he’s the official ‘bad guy’ you still root for him to win.

8. Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich

Roberts’ portrayal is both fun and heart warming. She occupies over 90% of screen time, but we never tire of seeing her, never get bored, and we’re always on her side.

7. Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network

According to the real Zuckerberg, the only thing the movie got right about him was his wardrobe. Never the less, we still love Jesse as the ruthless teenager intent on getting his way.

6. Meryl Streep as Julia Child in Julie and Julia

One of Streep’s most enjoyable performances, we warm quickly to Julia and her ways. Streep is the highlight of the film, and we look forward to her presence on screen.

5. Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins in Changeling

Jolie is captivating as the woman who experiences every mother’s worst nightmare. We feel her pain, long for her son to return, and condemn the authorities for her treatment. A touching story done justice by Jolie.

4. Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland

Ruthless dictators have been the subject of many a movie, but more often than not they become somewhat of a caricature (enough with Hitler’s moustache already!). Whitaker’s representation of Amin however is subtly chilling, and you find yourself waiting for the cat to pounce throughout.

3. Colin Firth as King George in The King’s Speech

Firth claimed that he struggled to lose his stutter after the film. That’s dedication to the craft, and his effort is clear throughout The King’s Speech. Firth’s performance is stoic, touching and heartfelt. His Academy Award was well deserved.

2. Al Pacino as Jack Kevorkian in You Don’t Know Jack

In a controversial story about euthanasia, Pacino’s performance is quiet and understated. Even if we do not agree with the controversy, he makes us respect it and draws us to the character like no one else could.

1. Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen

In her portrayal of the reigning monarch, Mirren manages to give us an insight into an otherwise inaccessible psyche. Even though it was only a film, Mirren’s performance left us feeling that we knew the monarchy more than we had before.

Discussion feed

Up next in movies