Taglines: Some stories are beyond belief.
Christian Longo (James Franco), an Oregon man whose wife and three children have been discovered murdered, is arrested by police in Mexico. There he claimed to be a reporter for the New York Times named Michael Finkel.
In New York City, Finkel (Jonah Hill) is an ambitious and successful reporter. He is confronted by his editors in a separate incident, who accuse him of partially fabricating a story which they had featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine. Although Finkel attempts to defend his actions, he is dismissed. He returns home to Montana, where his wife Jill (Felicity Jones) lives. He struggles to find work but is unsuccessful due to his dismissal from the Times.
Finkel is contacted by a reporter for The Oregonian, who is seeking his opinion on Christian Longo’s theft of his identity. Finkel, who was not aware of Longo’s actions, is intrigued. He arranges to meet with Longo in prison. During their first conversation, Longo claims that he has followed Finkel for his entire career, being fascinated by his writing. Longo agrees to tell Finkel his side of the story, in exchange for writing lessons, and Finkel’s promising his silence on their encounters.
Finkel becomes increasingly absorbed by Longo, who is evasive about his guilt. Convinced that the story will be redemptive, Finkel continues to meet and correspond with Longo over several months. Finkel receives numerous letters from Longo, including an eighty-page volume entitled “Wrong Turns”, which contains what Longo describes as a list of every mistake he has made in his life.
Finkel notices increasing similarities between the two men, including parallels between the styles of writing and drawing in Longo’s letters and Finkel’s personal journals. As the murder case approaches the time for trial, Finkel’s doubt about Longo’s guilt increases. Longo tells Finkel he intends to plead not guilty, and that he did not kill his family.
True Story is an American mystery thriller film directed by Rupert Goold and written by Goold and David Kajganich. Based on the memoir of the same name by Michael Finkel, the film stars Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones, Gretchen Mol, Betty Gilpin, and John Sharian.
Franco plays Christian Longo, a man on the FBI’s most wanted list for murdering his wife and three children in Oregon. He hid in Mexico under the identity of Michael Finkel, a journalist, played by Hill. The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically on April 17, 2015 in the United States. The film explores the relationship that develops between the two men after the journalist Finkel begins to meet with Longo in prison. The film earned only $4.7 million in theaters and received mixed reviews.
Directed by: Rupert Goold
Starring: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Felicity Jones, Gretchen Mol, Maria Dizzia, Ethan Suplee, Betty Gilpin
Screenplay by: Rupert Goold
Production Design by: Jeremy Hindle
Cinematography by: Masanobu Takayanagi
Film Editing by: Nicolas De Toth, Christopher Tellefsen
Costume Design by: Catherine Marie Thomas
Set Decoration by: David Schlesinger
Music by: Marco Beltrami
MPAA Rating: R for language and some disturbing material.
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release Date: April 17, 2015