A certain genre of movies is based on true events, a true crime or a true story.
It can give you the feeling that how the story evolves in the movie is how it went for real. That isn’t necessarily true. It all depends on how much freedom the producer took. Did he want to follow the factual events to a t, or is half of the movie dramatized and fictionalized? You only know better if you dive into the real story behind, to find out more.
Some people tend to believe, because it’s based on a true story, the way it plays out on the screen is the way it unfolded in real life. They might spread the word out according to the movie. A character in the movie depicting a real person might then come out more sympathetic than the real person and then that’s what a certain group of people believe.
Too young to die
As an example, I name this movie. It’s about Attina Marie Cannaday, in the movie she’s called Amanda Sue Bradley. A teenage girl who gets arrested, along with her boyfriend, for the murder of her former boyfriend. A much older man. The movie is played out with her being in jail, telling the story to her lawyer with flashbacks to the events. For starters, in reality there was a third perpetrator, Dawn Bushart. She’s left out in the movie. It’s more about Attina herself, her rotten life leading up to the murder, the death sentence that is given to teenagers, than it is about the victim and his girlfriend after Attina. Because of the movie you almost couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for Attina, while she did kill another human being.
The family of the murdered man was enraged by how the movie was made and they found Attina was painted as too much of a victim. Understandably, it doesn’t sit well with the directly involved. It can hurt someone’s feelings deeply.
True versus based on
On the other hand. They do mention it in the movie at the beginning: Based on a true story. Every movie in this genre does that. Then a lightbulb should go on that it at least is not 100% the truth. Another group of people has the opinion that if it’s a true story they should portray it as such, as it really went down. I don’t necessarily agree to it. After all, it’s a movie! Events get dramatized for cinematically effect. Details get left out to benefit the story, so on so forth. You have every right to disagree, but it’s just the way it is. You can also turn it around. Claim something is a true story, books, while it in fact it’s better named as based on.
And that’s what I do. I tend to follow the movie trend in this genre. I don’t claim it’s 100% the truth either. I only have a different reason to mention it’s ‘based on a true crime story’. If you have to rely on witnesses, and that’s certainly a part of the research while writing a true crime book, you never are totally sure. My reason isn’t to turn the story around into half fiction, half-true. I want to stay as close to the truth as possible. It’s still true crime, but I have to hedge somewhat.