Is The Burial based on a true story? American Legal Drama Explained

By Louie Fecou
Published: October 14, 2023
The Burial movie True Story

The legal drama movie The Burial from Prime Video has viewers wondering if it is based on a true story. The film has an A-list ensemble cast, including Jamie Foxx and Tommy Lee Jones, and is the story of a lawsuit aimed at a large funeral company.

The film was co-written and directed by Maggie Betts and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Before it was released on Prime Video, it also managed a limited release at selected cinemas.

If the drama and intrigue of the legal profession are something audiences enjoy, then this film is a must-watch for them, and it’s interesting to analyze what’s behind the story itself.

The Plot Behind The Burial (2023)

It is 1995, and the funeral home and family business of Jeremiah Joseph O’Keefe is in financial trouble and in dispute with a much larger corporation called The Loewen Group. An argument over a contract with a half-billion-dollar company looks like a “David and Goliath” situation. However, personal injury lawyer Willie E. Gary feels that Jeremiah has a chance and wants to take the corporation to task.

The film does what is expected, although it seems to follow many of the conventions of this kind of courtroom drama. The cast is assuredly on board, and it is good to see Jamie Foxx back on our screens after his recent health scare.

Major spoilers ahead

The film follows the case to its conclusion, with Jeremiah and his small family-run company being awarded a staggering five hundred million dollars. The figure would be appealed and reduced to one hundred and twenty-nine million dollars, an incredible victory for the small common man against a corporation that thinks it is out of reach.

With such a result, it is easy to see why people are wondering about the authenticity of the tale.

Is The Burial based on a true story?

Yes. The story is based on a real case. Of course, for the sake of the film, many of the aspects of the narrative have been dramatized to make for a better viewing experience. This is a film, after all, not a documentary, but much of the legal aspects are based on the real-life turn of events.

The film is based on an article that appeared in The New Yorker in 1999, covering the case, and many elements were changed and softened for the screenplay.

Some of the more detailed minutiae of the case were also Hollywood-ized to make for a more straightforward narrative to be explored. The reality of the real case was a lot more involved than the one we see on the screen, but again, these decisions are made to present an entertaining film that an audience can get behind.

The Burial is an entertaining legal comedy-drama with a true story behind its script.

READ: The Burial Ending Explained

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