Biopics are one of our favourite ways to get lost in a story. It's a way we get to learn about lives so different from our own, with all the tragedy, trauma, and tears that go with it. They're a powerful reminder that sometimes, stepping into someone else's shoes teaches us lessons we couldn't learn otherwise.
Hollywood has come a long way since the days when biopics only told the stories of older white men. These days, we get to learn about complex, difficult people from all walks of life, and we're richer for it. Movies like Hidden Figures and Erin Brockovich give us a glimpse into gutsy, hardworking women whose fascinating life stories would have gone untold otherwise. It's because someone decided that those lives were worth knowing about, and make movies about, so that we know their stories today.
The films on this list range from big Hollywood productions about household names, like The Social Network, to small, independent movies about historical figures that aren't quite so well-known, like Valerie Solanas, the subject of I Shot Andy Warhol. The people that each of these movies are based on all lived heartbreaking, terrifying, and joyous lives, in all their infinite complexity.
Ultimately, a great biopic teaches us something about ourselves in showing us another human's life. Film is a medium that uniquely allows us to explore those inner worlds — whether it's through the pastel dream world of Marie Antoinette, or through nonverbal mannerisms and cues, like Philip Seymour Hoffman portraying author Truman Capote. If you're looking to get lost, curl up with one of these biographical films, and meet your newest favourite historical figures.