It’s no secret to any of you that I am a History Buff. I try to hide it, but somehow it just comes out. Kidding of course. I know I do a terrible job at trying to hide that fact.
There are some things though that us History Buffs absolutely cannot stand when watching historical movies. So if you ever produce a historical movie, please do not do these things, or you will have a whole host of History Buffs ready to kill you.
- Inaccurate Clothing
This is so much a pet peeve of mine. I seriously can’t stand it when I watch a movie that is supposed to be set in a certain time period, and the costumers did a terrible job on the clothing. I mean it’s not that hard to research these things people! Either do it right or don’t do it at all.
A superb example of this is in the recent Little Women adaption, where one of the March sisters is seen wearing a pair of Uggs…Yes, legit Uggs.
One of my favorite eras is World War Two, and so often I see mistakes in movies set in that time period. It drives me nuts. One big one is that you seldom see movies that actually have the seamed stockings. Seriously people? Back then, all of your stockings would’ve had a seam in the back. That was the way they were made. There was no such thing as a stocking that didn’t have a seam up the back. And no, the seamed stocking was not inherently evil. I realize that some people who have not done research into the era and history of seamed stockings, might not realize that they were not something just worn by worldly women. It just wasn’t the case. Every woman would’ve worn stockings with seams up the back. It did not mean you were a woman of the world.
Do your research.
2. Inaccurate Hairstyles
Oh please, please let me rant on this one for a while. Most of the time when I see a movie or TV show set in a particular era, I just have to laugh at the hairstyles. It absolutely kills me. Like do these people not realize that in some of these eras, women would not wear their hair down after they reached a certain age?
Yeah, I’m looking at you, When Calls The Heart. For starters, that show was so inaccurate in so many different ways, but the killer was the ridiculousness of the hairstyles they had the cast wearing. They looked like something direct from the 2020s. Long, beach waves pinned partially back? Get real here, seriously. There was even one hairstyle that was a serious nod to the 1940s. So inaccurate it isn’t even funny. (And don’t get me started on the feminism they had going on in that show. But that is another topic for another post.)
I could say the same thing for the recent Little Women movie that came out. You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s all I’m gonna say about that one.
3. Common Phrases That Were Not So Common
Ever watched those movies where one of the characters says a well known, common phrase, but then you’re hit with the fact that that phrase didn’t even exist when the movie was set in?
Yeah…we’ve all seen it. And it annoys me to no end. Now I get it, it’s hard to remember when writing something set in a different era, that some of these phrases that we are so familiar with didn’t even exist in the era we are writing. I write Historical Fiction. I know how easy it is to throw in a phrase, because it would be what any person nowadays would say in that situation. But if you’re going to write something—regardless of whether it’s a movie script, play, or novel, etc—do it right. It’s your job as the author to do that research and find these things out!
How do you not realize that if your character was real, and you used that phrase with them in the era they live, they would be looking at you like you had eight heads. Those poor characters would be so terribly confused.
4. Inaccurate Depiction of Historical Events
Now you’ve really got me started. I can’t stand when movies portray historical events inaccurately. History is not to be changed to meet the needs for our writing. That goes for movies, commentaries, or novels. Bending history to fit your narrative is one of the most disgusting things to do. (No, I definitely do not have strong feelings on this topic.)
And yes, I include pretty much every movie ever produced about the War Between the States. Why is it so hard for people to just portray history accurately? If people would study both sides of the story instead of believing the narrative the school systems are forcing on us, maybe they’d see things about history that they’ve never seen before.
And by the way, let me just throw this out here, I whole-heartedly believe in what the Confederacy fought for. Confederate girl to the heart right here. It all goes back to studying history for yourself and not believing everything that is being pushed in “education” today, but rather finding out what is true.
When watching movies regarding history it seems that way to often the entire storyline is just one big cliché. Take World War Two for instance, if I could sum up almost every World War Two movie out there, it would be something along the lines of: Girl meets soldier. They fall in love. He’s shipped overseas. She is devestated. He finally comes home after being wounded, and they live happily ever after.
Let me just stop and take a minute to roll my eyes. For starters, the problem I have with these types of cliché movies, is that they ignore the fact that a lot of soldiers who had loved ones waiting for them at home, never made it back. Just because a soldier went to war knowing his sweetheart was waiting for him at home with her undying love, didn’t make him bullet proof.
Another thing: they never show the reality of the fact that not every wound heals completely, without repercussions. What about the soldiers who came home missing limbs, or burned almost beyond recognition, but the wives they left behind still chose to stay with them, because their love went deeper than outward appearances?
There is a lot of little known aspects of history that you could make a movie about. Why must it always be the same story line? Let’s get a little more original, shall we folks?
Moral of the story, if you ever create a historical movie, please make it accurate. Or you will have a History Buff mutiny on your hands. In fact, that goes for anything you might do that is historical. It applies to novels as well, so please keep this in mind, dear writer.
Are you a history buff? What things do you notice in movies? Let me know in the comments!
A. M. Watson