Foxcatcher Outfoxes Audiences

I was a woman obsessed. Now I am a woman flabbergasted.

A couple of nights ago, I saw Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. Like I usually do after seeing movies based on true stories,  I went onto the web to see how accurate the movie is. After I read the four analyses that I review below, I realized that the movie is closer to inaccurate than accurate.

Foxcatcher is about wrestling gold-medalist Mark Schultz, who trained at John du Pont’s training facilities–at the time it was the only place where the US Olympic wrestling team trained. Mark’s brother Dave, also a gold medalist, trained on the du Pont estate, but started later. Dave was shot and killed by du Pont in 1996.


It is dismaying how inaccurate the movie is. Here are my reviews of the sites and articles that are decent resources for comparing this movie (and other movies) with the reality it is based on. Don’t go to these sites until AFTER you’ve seen the movie!!! (WARNING, Spoilers!)

1. History vs Hollywood 

reelrealfacesMy take: great website, could have more details, but raises interesting, fun questions and starts with cool, side-by-side photos of the real people and the actors who portray them.

Gimmicky, succinct terminology: everything from the movie is referred to as “reel”; everything from real life as “real.”

Format: in three sections:

1, Reel Face: side-by-side photos of the actors next to the people they play, including the birth dates and birthplaces of each.

2. Questioning the Story: Q and A’s about facts in the movie but also about the making of the movie.

3. Related Links to:

videos from the time, such as news broadcasts, interviews of the real people and the actors.

for example: 1996 interview of Dave Schultz, recent interview with Mark Schultz and footage of their wrestling matches in the 1980s.

websites from the official movie site and other sites, such as Mark Schultz’s Facebook page.

2.  “Reel History” Column, The Guardian (My long-time fave)

(yes, another “Reel” review)

Reel Mark Ruffalo, Real Dave Schultz
Reel Mark Ruffalo, Real Dave Schultz, from

by Alex von Tunzelmann

About a year ago, I reviewed this column after I saw Philomena 

My take: excellent. Clear, well-organized and informative. Best of all, you don’t need to read any spoilers to know von Tunzelmann’s analysis and her opinion of the film (see verdict, below).


1. Subheadings: first subheadings is labelled People, the rest are divided by themes.

2. Verdict: the last part of the review is the “verdict,” which is von Tunzelmann’s bottom line, sans spoilers

Here’s her “verdict” for Foxcatcher:

Foxcatcher has terrific performances from three of the most talented and versatile actors working in Hollywood today: Carell, Tatum and Ruffalo. It’s an accomplished piece of film-making, but a creative –and evidently, to some, offensive–take on the true story.

3. The Daily Beast (article)

Title: Wrestler Mark Schultz Hates the ‘Sickening and Insulting Lies’ of Foxcatcher

by Rich Goldstein

My take: not great. It’s mostly a copy of a bulleted list on Mark Schultz’s Facebook page. Still, there’s additional, interesting info, like this: “Foxcatcher’s director Bennett Miller’s previous semi-non-fictional works Capote and Moneyball have attracted similar claims of embellishment.”

Dave and Mark Schulz
Real Dave and Mark Schulz

4. (article)

Title: How Accurate Is Foxcatcher?

by Aisha Harris

My take: not bad. Well organized and clear. Subheadings for each character and du Pont’s relationship with Mark Schulz, but not for Mark’s relationship with his brother, which is one of the cruxes of the movie.

Format: subheadings.

Reel Steve Carrell, Real John du Pont






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