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In reality, the hearing into Hughes alleged misuse of funds was, not surprisingly, much more complex. Some have claimed that the Texan fabricated the story that a business rival had bribed the Senator, investigating Hughes. This was part of a clever strategy to get out of his legal troubles. The Texan was never charged with wasting government money, and the investigation was soon dropped. However, there are lingering suspicions about Hughes business activities. The movie does not mention the Texan’s role as a philanthropist and that he founded the world-renowned Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) which has developed many pioneering medications and treatments. <ref> McCook, A. (2005). What the aviator left out: visionary Howard Hughes Medical Institute had trouble taking off in its early days. The Scientist, 19(2), 52-53 </ref>
concentrates on Hughes during his prime when he was a leading figure in Hollywood, business, and aviation. The movie does capture the personality of Hughes who was a complex, tireless, and charismatic figure who captivated a generation. It also captures the man’s essential loneliness and his growing mental instability. However, its explanation for the cause of his mental health problems is too simplistic. The movie does portray Hughes as a great womaniser but neglects to show that he was actually married for some of the film. It also portrays him as a great aviator and there is some truth to this. Scorsese’s motion picture does capture the brilliance and his slow descent into mental illness and even alludes to his later years that were marred by instability, when he lived as a virtual recluse. However, The Aviator, fails to address many issues in Hughes life such as his often-controversial business practices and the dark side of his womanizing.
Fay, Stephen, Lewis Chester, and Magnus Linklater. <i>Hoax: the inside story of the Howard Hughes--Clifford Irving affair</i> (New York, Viking Adult, 1972).