Hollywood Exaggeration:

Morgan Freeman's spots in "Invictus"

Tinseltown can’t resist movies based on reality.  Long before reality TV, the cinematic phrase “Based on a true story” ramped up the drama.  It implied that audiences were watching actual events, not the just the musings of a caffeine-fueled screen writer.  But films rarely paint a true portrait of history.  With music, compressed or added characters, and an altered perspective, docudramas like “Milk” or “The Changeling” play fast and loose with the facts.


“Invictus,” the tale of the South African rugby team under Nelson Mandela’s transformative presidency, is no different.  Many scenes are lifted straight from television footage of the time.  But as Mandela, Morgan Freeman’s appearance is greatly exaggerated.  Mandela (shown here) certainly had the small facial bumps known as DPN’s.  These non-cancerous lesions are as common in older people with darker skin tones as was the oppression that occurred during Apartheid.

Yet in his portrayal of Mandela, Morgan Freeman’s growths are dramatically increased in size and number, looking like small rugby balls bouncing across his cheeks.  These lesions seem to convey Mandela’s humble origins and ability to relate to the people.  We realize that these Freeman’s spots are not prosthetic makeup or cgi. 

Though they are a sign of  “maturity” and are not dangerous, DPN's are easier for doctors to treat than for Americans to understand rugby.  The face can be prepared with a topical anesthetic and then treated with a low strength electrical device (hyfrecation) or certain lasers.  Freeman has clearly avoided this intervention, proving that like Mandela, he is master of his fate, the captain of his soul.

Runner-up, Hollywood exaggeration:
Will Ferrell's Mega Insect Bite, "Land of the Lost"

Will Ferrell makes a good snack..
...for this mutated mosquito.
A bite only Hollywood could imagine.
Some people are prone to swollen allergic reactions when bitten by mosquitos. Yet we've never seen swelling quite like this! Strong cortisone creams or even cortisone injections can take the edge off of stings. Patients shouldn't feel "Lost," treatment is available!


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