Real to Reel: Truth and Trickery in Courtroom Movies
Michael Asimow and Paul Bergman
Vandeplas Publishing (2021)
Reviewed by Jen Oliver-Rigsby for Reader Views (8/2021)
Have you ever watched a movie or television show based on whatever your career is and thought this is not even close to reality? Have you ever watched something and thought that they must have an insider since this is way too close to what you’ve experienced? “Real to Reel” does exactly that. It is written by two lawyers who felt like there was too much falsehood in the movie business when it came to courtrooms and wanted to set the record straight. “Real to Reel” analyzes over 200 movies in detail about how close they are to reality.
Asimow and Bergman break down each movie into several parts. A basic look at the courtroom scene(s), scenes outside the courtroom that pertain to lawyers, and some interesting tidbits about the movies, directors, and/or actors. The courtroom scenes are interjected with their points of how close to reality the scene actually is. These interjections provide some inside knowledge that most readers/movie watchers would not necessarily know. Each chapter discusses different types of court cases: familial issues, death penalty, expert witnesses, etc.
As a fan of courtroom movies and television shows, I found “Real to Reel” to have some interesting viewpoints and information about how a similar situation would occur in real life. It is interesting to look back at some of my favorite courtroom movies and realize that nope, this was done for purely entertainment value. I also enjoyed their interjections that provided insight into how lawyers/judges should and do work in the real life.
I would love for other professionals to take the time to review movies and television shows for their respective professions. Could you imagine a doctor examining Gray’s Anatomy or ER? Given the number of courtroom television shows, I would love to see the authors do a similar book taking a look at shows like Law & Order and other courtroom dramas, especially since so many are based on real-life cases.