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Verisimilitude Test: Is This Really the City You Know?

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The Nanny Diaries features Scarlett Johansson as an anthropology grad who, arriving in New York, imagines herself walking past dioramas of the city’s various subcultures. For a review of that movie, click here. For our guide to how accurately (or implausibly) other films have tackled New York worlds, see below.


JOURNALISM


13 Going on 30 (2004)
Jennifer Garner is a teen trapped in the body of a fabulous fashion editor. What’s everyone else’s excuse?

Celebrity (1998)
Only in a Woody Allen movie would starlets and models ever deign to sleep with their zhlubby interviewers.

The Paper (1994)
Ron Howard’s underrated newsroom melodrama. Bonus points for the reporter who admits to not reading his own paper.

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Still the last word on the sycophancy and two-facedness of the media world.

Network (1976)
It was supposed to be satire, but now Sidney Lumet’s wicked take on the dumbing down of TV news reads like prophecy.




ARTY TYPES


Finding Forrester (2000)
Sean Connery convinces as a reclusive, Salingeresque genius author. Never seems to do any writing, though.

Pollock (2000)
Ed Harris looks, acts, and sounds like Pollock, but it’s hard to buy the scene where he discovers drip-painting by accident.

Basquiat (1996)
It helps that this bio of an art-world enfant terrible was directed by another art-world enfant terrible: Julian Schnabel. Demerits for David Bowie’s Warhol wig.

Capote (2005)
Mr. Shawn devotees took issue with the New Yorker editor’s portrayal. But Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Capote was spot-on.



(Photographs from top: Columbia/Everett Collection; Everett Collection; Miramax/Everett Collection; Sony Pictures Classics/Everett Collection)


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