The Truth About ARGO – Ben Affleck: Shame On You

Designed by Noha - Original image courtesy from Google

Designed by Noha – Original image courtesy from Google

My lovely friend, Maureen Greenaway, wrote the following post with her opinion on ARGO movie, which I would like to re-post it here. I totally agree and second every single word of it. Canadians are not happy with what happened.  Ben Affleck: Shame on you….Shame on you….the truth needs to be told.

The Way I See It:  I’m begging you, if you will  tell a true story….please please stick to the facts and give each person the credit they deserve, otherwise simply shut up or even better create your own.


By Maureen Greenway:

I am so pissed about the inaccuracy of the movie Argo, I just have to say something …all quotes from Carter and Taylor (below) have been taken from the CBC article posted below.

When I heard a few months back that Ben Affleck had made amovie called ARGO about the Americans who had escaped from Iran back in 1979/80 — I thought to myself “Why would he make a movie about some Canadian Heroes?”.

I couldn’t believe that someone as “American” as Affleck would be interested in telling a story that lauded some very heroic Canadian Embassy staff and Ken Taylor, the Head of the Canadian Embassy that was dubbed “The Canadian Caper” at the time.

Well it looks like he didn’t! He made a ficticious movie about Americans “saving the day”. I can’t believe this movie was made without the appropriate due diligence usually given to a true story.

Setting things straight on CNN Thursday night, President Jimmy Carter said to Piers Morgan, “I saw the movie Argo recently and I was taken aback by its distortion of what happened because almost everything that was heroic, or courageous or innovative was done by Canada and not the United States.”

“90 per cent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian,” but the film “gives almost full credit to the American CIA.” Carter said.

Ken Taylor (the real Hero) had this to say in response to Carters’ statement:

“There would be no movie without the Canadians.”

“We took the six in without being asked so it starts there,” Taylor said. “And the fact that we got them out with some help from the CIA then that’s where the story loses itself. I think Jimmy Carter has it about right, it was 90 per cent Canada, 10 per cent the CIA.”

He said CIA agent Tony Mendez, played by Affleck in the film, was only in Iran for a day and a half.

The movie also makes no mention of John Sheardown, a deputy at the Canadian embassy who sheltered some of the Americans. Taylor said it was Sheardown who took the first call and agreed right away to take the Americans in. Sheardown recently died and his wife, Zena, called the movie disappointing.

Friends of Taylor were outraged last September when Argo debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The original postscript of the movie said that Taylor received 112 citations and awards for his work in freeing the hostages and suggested Taylor didn’t deserve them because the movie ends with the CIA deciding to let Canada have the credit for helping the Americans escape

Taylor called the postscript lines “disgraceful and insulting” and said it would have caused outrage in Canada if the lines were not changed. Affleck flew Taylor to Los Angeles after the Toronto debut and allowed him to insert a postscript that gave Canada some credit.

Taylor called it a good movie and said he’s not rooting against it, but said it is far from accurate.

“He’s a good director. It’s got momentum. There’s nothing much right from Day 1 I could do about the movie. I changed a line at the end because the caption at the end was disgraceful,” he said.

Original Article on CBC News 

Some of Maureen’s comments:

* My issue with ARGO is that it was passed off as being a true story. If the movie makers had just said that it was a fictionalized account or based on a true story, it would have been acceptable …not particularly nice, but acceptable.
I don’t buy the argument that screenplays can’t be faithful to source material. Tell that to Steven Spielberg. Good film makers go to excruciating lengths to ensure a faithfulness to the source material. Hell, he even had the ticking of Lincoln’s original watch recorded so that it could be overlayed when DDL was holding it, just to ensure the authenticity of sound! 
…and let’s not forget James Frey. Remember the semi-autobiographical novel he wrote called “A Million Little Pieces”? 
If ARGO was a book in Oprah’s Book Club, and it got all this media attention based on it being true, Oprah would be publically humiliating Ben Affleck right now for the telling of lies instead of the telling of truth.
A good question is — why did ARGO get let off the hook so easily and A Million Little Pieces didn’t?

* You can’t steal your way back to the American Dream and feel good about yourself. The truth “theft” not only diminished the Canadians who participated in the event, it diminished the Americans who so blindly, and greedily, accepted it as “their truth”. There is no honour in “cheating”, just as there is no honour among thieves.

ARGO: Tell the Truth…..



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