Life, camera, action: 2014 and the rebirth of Hollywood biopics

  • Jyoti Sharma Bawa, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 24, 2014 22:40 IST

We all know Hollywood loves to save the world. This superhero-spewing machinery considers a year in which it has not saved the world at least a few times, a year wasted. Did we mention saving the world also means multi-million dollar in the credit side of cash registers (Transformers, Captain America, X-Men, Spider-Man and Hunger Games being some of the famous examples this year)?

However, what the Hollywood moguls like equally well are awards sitting pretty on their desks and that’s where biopics come in: Hard hitting, brutally honest and gut-wrenching portrayals of real-life personalities that are loved equally by critics and fans alike.

This year has been particularly good in terms of biopics. Here’s our list of some of 2014’s most amazing films (which also happen to be biopics). If you have not seen them already, time to get acquainted because these films are likely to feature prominently in the upcoming award season.

The Theory of Everything

Counted amongst the greatest minds of the world today, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking’s story comes alive on screen under the able direction of James Marsh. Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and Felicity Jones as his wife Jane present the extraordinary story of a man who sets on an ambitious scientific research which will change the way we look at the universe after he has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the tortured genius Alan Turing in this prestige biopic. Turin was the man who under nail-biting pressure, cracked the German Enigma code and shortened the World War II perceptibly. This pioneer of modern-day computing was later convicted for homosexuality and sentenced to chemical castration.

Mr Turner

This film tells the story of the great British painter JMW Turner who was respected and reviled in equal measures for his eccentricities and creativity. Played by the excellent Timothy Spall and directed by Mike Leigh, it tells the story of the man and his art.


Directed by Angelina Jolie, this film is based on Olympian Louis Zamperini who suffers a plane crash during World War II. After spending 47 days on a raft with two other crewmen, he is arrested by the Japanese as a prisoner of war.


After her marriage ends and her mother dies, Cheryl Strayed has lost all hope. A rash of bad decisions later, Cheryl hikes almost a thousand miles along the Pacific Crest Trail and in the process heals herself. Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl is an awards favourite.

American Sniper

This Clint Eastwood film has Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in the US military history. After spending four harrowing years in Iraq where he comes to be known as ‘Legend’ for his sniper skills, he returns home only to find he can’t leave the war behind.

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