Sunday, August 18, 2013

Do You Really Want the Truth? by Paty Jager

I started watching the movie “Bernie” with Jack Black a couple weeks ago. It had been recommended by a friend. Well, my husband and I were bored to death it moved so slow and was kind of like a documentary about this guy Bernie’s life. It was based on a true story about a mortician who befriends an older widowed woman.

The movie opens with Bernie teaching a class at a mortician’s school on how to “present” the deceased.
He showed how to “fix the face”, put make up on, and pose the hands. Things I’d never thought about and have since researched because I couldn’t believe some of the things he did. Were they the truth or added to make the viewer question? 

From the info I found on the internet(two reliable sources by morticians), I believe the movie used methods to evoke an emotion other than “Ick”. In the movie “Bernie” super glued the eyes and the lips shut. But first he placed a piece of plastic in the corpse’s mouth to make his lips stick out rather than suck in. 

I discovered there is an adhesive used to keep the eyes closed (they don’t shut after someone closes them as they show in the movies and TV)  And they do a whole lot more to the mouth to keep it closed, but I won’t go into that. (Let’s just say, I think I’m going to just be cremated rather than have so much evasion on my person when I die.)

The reason I’m bringing this up, is, as I researched, I found out a whole lot of information that would make most viewers turn the movie off way before I did. So, when writing or reading a book, how much do you want the writer to stick to the truth? Enough to make it interesting without boring you or making you sick, or do you want all the gory or boring details? 


Susan said...

I like the story to suck me in, so I'm less bothered with the truth vs creative license. If I want to know more, like you did Paty, I have a little visit with Google :)

Paty Jager said...

Sucking in a reader is the best thing. ;) I think this day and age it is easier to leave some things out and people can gather more info if they like.

Anonymous said...

I'm more drawn in by the characters feelings about doing the work than a description of the work itself. In your mortician example, I'd want to know if Bernie liked his work, hated it, thought about funny things as he did it, etc.

Certainly, some amount of detail is warranted but I don't want to get bogged down in it. However, whatever detail IS provided I want to be accurate. Because if it interests me, I will go surfing the Internet to learn more and if I find out the author erred I get a bit miffed that she didn't take the time to make sure it was right.

jamie said...

Details. I love the details if they are something out of the norm.

Paty Jager said...

Maggie, I agree with the details/information needs to be accurate.

Jamie, Yes, I love the offbeat details that enrich a story.