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The Modern Biopic: From Coal Miner's Daughter to Lincoln

One of the principal ways of understanding history is through the eyes of individuals. The biopic—a cinematic biography of sorts—has been a staple of films for years. Indeed, people often sigh when they hear the word, wondering if the movie will follow the traditional formula that has developed. What once were considered lengthy but often excellent “cradle to grave” biopics now have been somewhat dismissed or relegated to their own less-esteemed category. In recent years, however, the biopic has been reinvented, and it often has been used to address issues from history that still resonate today. In this class, we will discuss the history and accuracy of, as well as the filmmakers’ visions for, examples of the genre. Film screenings may include Coal Miner’s Daughter, Belle, Frieda, The Social Network, The Imitation Game, Marie Antoinette, The Queen, and Lincoln.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Familiarity with the genre of the modern biopic
  • An understanding of how contemporary filmmakers have upended conventions of the genre

Ideal for

  • All members of the community—working, retired, and in-between
  • History and movie buffs
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.