Artistic license

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Artistic license means taking liberties with the facts to make a more entertaining or understandable story, particularly in a movie. In a biopic, the salient features of a person's life are emphasized, often making the person out to be better or simpler than he really was, as in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (the life story of vaudevillian George Cohan).

... it is chock full of inaccuracies. Mr. George M. Cohan even remarked at its screening, "It's a good Picture. Who's it about?" We can forgive a certain amount of artistic license, for sake of bringing a concise feeling and keeping things running smoothly. The combination of characters, the elimination of incidents and the deletion of unnecessary facts all are necessary tools of refining and honing the screenplay to the threshold of perfection[1]

Typically, altered or composite characters are created: in "The Pursuit of Happyness", the hero's two-year-old son was shown as five years old.

The movie The Pursuit of Happyness depicts Chris Gardner's son Christopher (Jaden Smith) as a 5-year-old. In reality, Chris Gardner's son was only two-years-old when the film's plot unfolded in real life. The real Chris Gardner was okay with this dramatic liberty taken by the filmmakers, "I understood that. You've got to give these guys some license. My son was 2 years-old when we were going through this. Did we have dialogue? Yeah. But there's obviously more you can do when the child is a little older. Give them some license." Will Smith's son Jaden, who portrayed Christopher Jr. in the film, was actually seven-years-old during the shooting of the movie.[2]

Here's a definition:

Creative (or "artistic") license is generally understood to mean the freedom artists may take when handling factual material. From William Shakespeare to Peter Shaffer (Amadeus) and beyond, history has inspired, but not controlled, artists. Even when a dramatic feature is said to be based on actual events, audiences are generally aware that some liberties have likely been taken. Multiple actual characters may have been merged to simplify the storyline and reduce cast size. Invented characters may have been added, or the timeline of actual events shortened.[3]

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