English Idioms

"It is a true Story"

Last WE, i saw a movie "Road to nowhere" de Monte Hallman.
A very particular movie, i still don't know if i liked it or not, i guess not. In fact, i got rapidly bored of the useless sophistication of the story. The type of film which makes you wonder if there is something to understand or if you are to dumb to understand what's going on !
Anyway, we were told to stay until the very end of the film, until the very end of credits.
So i staid until the very end and the words oo the screen :
"IT IS A TRUE STORY". Does that mean that the story was " une histoire véridique" ou "une véritable histoire" ?
Thanks for help.


  • Hi Vic!
    Your interesting scrutinizing of the use of a word prompts me to tell you my feeling. Just MY feeling.

    A very commonly-used word as TRUE is likely to give a possible double meaning to a statement. It depends on the context and the angle of speaker or listener.

    A statement or story that tells veracious, genuine, truthfull, accurate facts, conforming exactly to reality can be said a true statement or a true story.
    "It's a true story" (that happened really.)

    But the adjective can also qualify the noun 'statement' or 'story' in itself. What kind of a stuff is that? Is it a story/statement or something else?
    To say it is really a story I could also say "It's a true story" (that has maybe cobbled together, invented)

    Now let's get back to what you wonder about.
    I think that in the daily way of speaking "It's a true story" most often means that it reports real facts.

    For the second case, I for one would say "That's really a story" or "Really, it's a story."

    French has more subtle ways to make the meaning out.
    "C'est une vraie histoire" (véritable), but it is not necessarily "une histoire vraie" (véridique).

    Keep being fine and well, Victorine.
  • Thanks Joe, but in the context of Monte Hallman's movie, no clue for help ! so i just décide that "It is a true story", i mean a "véridique" one.
    Good evening.
  • Hi Vic,

    I haven't seen this movie yet (alas), but judging from what I've read about it so far, the background is the following:

    The leading character in this movie is a young director, who usesd a so-called 'true story', a murder and dissappearance of a person (or a couple), to make a movie out of it. That crime (which is therefore the source material for the movie IN the movie) is the 'true story' in the plot, but in fact it is only contrived, too, so the 'true story' is again only a fiction. In short, the 'true' story is only true in the movie, not in our world.

    As I mentioned, I haven't seen the movie yet, it's only what I read about it.

  • What a strange movie !

    This discussion let me think about two things.

    Firstly, about the word TRUE. I've always been amused that the translation of "grand amour" is "true love". It's like, for english speakers, a short love affair couldn't be love. Well, I am not really sure of what is a "grand amour" in French anyway.

    Your discussion about the meaning of a true story also let me think. Typical films based on true stories, of true situations, are documentaries. I am very fond of documentaries. But I do keep in mind that, as soon as a film director shots the "real world" with his camera, he chooses what to shot and from where, and then he edits the different shots, and it's becoming fiction.
    A "true story" told by different people can be totally different stories. So we should stay awake when we are told about true stories, in feature films, in so called documentaries, and most important in the TV news !

    Best regards,
  • Yes, Noémie13, I totally assent. 'The truth and nothing but the truth' can be dredged up only very, very slowly and with a great deal of effort. And even the most professional documentary can never depict the whole story from all possible perspectives, and has, more or less, the fingerprint of the director and the producers (or, indirectly, their own cultural influence) on it. That's something most of us have learned to deal with, which is called 'media competence'. That's an important aptitude - and you have attained it.
  • I hope that in these topics, there are 100% true characters and stories. I would be very disappointed if some were fake because it is serious lessons for serious people having to improve their English.
  • Hello Yann, just think everything is true... because everything could d be truely said, i don't think of TV speech of course.
    by tne way.... hello Whacky.

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