A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Russell Crowe plays John Nash, an economic Nobel laureate who develops paranoid schizophrenia, resulting in hallucinations and dangerously erratic behaviour. We began to question the existence of everyone we knew immediately after the credits began to roll. Well, after we’d wiped away a tear.
Malcolm X (1992)
Recidivist Malcolm Little has an epiphany in jail. He converts to Islam and adopts the name Malcolm X, rejecting the surname given to his family by white slave owners and propelling him to become Islam's national spokesman in the US. Needless to say, he got gunned down in the end. Before you head for the comments, there’s no such thing as a spoiler in a biopic.
The King's Speech (2010)
It’s difficult to make a powerful, morale-boosting speech to a war-ravaged country when you’re tongue-tied. Colin Firth and the medium of film conspire to help us all understand how George VI overcame his debilitating speech impediment to do just that. The movie was ladled with a record-breaking 12 Oscar nominations.
Harvey Milk’s election was a Californian landmark – an openly gay man took office for the first time. Gus Van Sant’s biopic veers between tender and violent to tell the story from a perch carefully balanced between Milk’s private and public lives.
Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as the eponymous writer – Truman Capote – researching his non-fiction work, In Cold Blood. Capote becomes obsessed with a multiple murder, travelling to meet the relatives (and, ultimately, killer). His friend, To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee, corresponds throughout. Dark, but brilliant.