Is This the Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy? A Musicological Research on Authentic Representation in Musical Biopics
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Lately, many musical biopics have been released and are set to be released in the coming few years. Despite the controversy surrounding it, Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) has become the most successful biopic of all time. The controversy mainly has to do with the idea that there are many mistakes in the film. This has not stopped the audience of seeing the film and shows a dichotomy between the opinions of critics and audience. This dichotomy leads to the main question of this thesis: ‘What is the importance of authentic representation in a musical biopic for critics?’ In musicological research, reviews are mostly ignored, even though they are an important part of how people perceive films and music. In order to answer this question a theories by, amongst others, Philip Auslander, Allan F. Moore, and Stuart Hall are used on authentic representation and an analysis of several reviews on musical biopics is done. A musical biopic is described as a biographical film that depicts the life of a historical, musical person, past or present. First, the thesis gives a short overview of the history of musical biopics. Secondly, authentic representation is explained by giving several definitions of authenticity. These definitions are related to each other to give general ideas of authenticity that can be used in analysing reviews, which is the third part of the thesis. Based on the general ideas of authenticity and representation, quotes from reviews are discussed and figured out to what extent they are thought of as important to critics. As expected, a lot of the elements that have been discussed about authentic representation can be found in the reviews, showing the importance of it to critics.