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True Story

Coming Soon

Jonah Hill plays Michael Finkel, the New York Times journalist caught fabricating details of his award-winning material. The unemployed and disgraced writer retreats to Montana where he discovers an accused murderer has assumed his identity. He is intrigued.

James Franco is Christian Longo, the man accused of killing his 3 children and wife. The crimes were disturbing, but Longo’s behavior calm and collected. Longo uses Finkel’s identity as an effective call-to-action for Finkel to seek out the murderer.

Longo and Finkel’s relationship is peculiar and strangely symbiotic. They agree to a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” approach to discussing the grisly murders. The conversations lead to a book deal for Finkel; an opportunity for redemption in the writing world. Longo learns to become a writer – but he becomes a better story-teller.

As the trial progresses, we learn Longo is very calculated and wicked. Franco plays the part decently, though its sometimes difficult to take him seriously. The heinous murder and Longo’s sensational account sell him as a man who could snap at a moments notice. This prospect keeps the viewer on the edge of his seat.

Felicity Jones plays Finkel’s wife Jill. Jones is grossly underused despite owning one of the film’s most intriguing scenes: a face-off with Longo. Mostly her part is relegated to slow motion captures of unraveling her husband’s obsession with the accused.

Jonah Hill is interesting as Finkel though not as appealing as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s turn as Truman Capote. There are similarities to Capote, but director Rupert Goold’s True Story dwells on Longo’s puzzling testimony and Finkel’s morality. It turns out Finkel’s redemption is also his curse.

True Story is an extremely slow-burning thriller. It tends to alienate audiences for stretches, but then whips them back into attention. The crime is awful, but never exploited by the filmmakers. The trial is twisted, but not repulsive. It’s riveting theater and recommended matinee fare.

True Story is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Chris Giroux
Chris Giroux is founder and editor-in-charge at Movie Reelist, an entertainment news and review blog serving the most fanatic moviegoers. Chris started his publication in Detroit in 2010 and has since reviewed hundreds of films and interviewed numerous talent across the country. He is an avid film festival attendee and red carpet photographer, having shot the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Mark Hamill, and more. Chris grew up in New Mexico, where he studied mass media writing while working in post-production and multimedia authoring. It is also where he discovered Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, resulting in an unhealthy Kurt Russell obsession.


  1. Excellent review. The crimes were heinous. But, the interaction and development of the story was interesting.

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