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Genius

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for some thematic elements and suggestive content.
not reviewed
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Biography Drama Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 44 min.
Year of Release:
2016
USA Release:
June 10, 2016 (wide—152 theaters)
DVD: September 6, 2016
Featuring: Nicole KidmanAline Bernstein
Jude LawThomas Wolfe
Guy PearceF. Scott Fitzgerald
Colin FirthMax Perkins
Laura LinneyLouise Saunders
Dominic West … Ernest Hemingway
Vanessa Kirby … Zelda Fitzgerald
Mark Arnold … Boat Captain
Katherine Kingsley … The Purring Woman
See all »
Director: Michael Grandage
Producer: Desert Wolf Productions
Michael Grandage Company
Riverstone Pictures
Distributor: Lionsgate

“Max Perkins discovered Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But he never met anyone like Thomas Wolfe.”

Copyrighted, Lionsgate

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “From Academy Award-nominated screenwriter JOHN LOGAN (Gladiator, The Aviator, Hugo, Skyfall) and acclaimed, Tony Award-winning director MICHAEL GRANDAGE in his feature film debut, comes ‘Genius,’ a stirring drama about the complex friendship and transformative professional relationship between the world-renowned book editor Maxwell Perkins (who discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway) and the larger-than-life literary giant Thomas Wolfe.
Based on the inspirational biography Max Perkins: Editor of Geniusby Pulitzer Prize winner A. SCOTT BERG, Genius stars COLIN FIRTH as Perkins, JUDE LAW as Wolfe, NICOLE KIDMAN as Aline Bernstein, a costume designer sharing a tumultuous relationship with Wolfe, Laura Linney as Louise Perkins, Max’s wife and a talented playwright, GUY PEARCE as F. Scott Fitzgerald and DOMINIC WEST as Ernest Hemingway.

Finding fame and critical success at a young age, Wolfe was a blazing talent with a larger-than-life personality to match. Perkins was one of the most respected and well-known literary editors of all time.”

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Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—I’ve wanted to see this true life story for some time now, and I wasn’t disappointed. The sepia tones set the scene nicely for NYC in the 1920s when authors are desperate to see their literary babies brought to life in a publisher’s hands, not least Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) and Ernest Hemingway. It’s a fascinating look inside the writer’s mind (Jude Law as Wolfe) and how the editing process (Colin Firth as Max Perkins) takes place.

The effect writing a book can have on loved ones, where obsession becomes the watchword, is powerfully portrayed and well acted.

Only one brief scene—is really unnecessary to the plot, insinuating that a steamy sexual act is about to take place, though you see next to nothing. Just as editors edit, so the director edits scenes and this one implied the writer is ecstatic about his new found success after many rejections, and he celebrates by drinking a lot and having sex with his long suffering mistress, Nicole Kidman.

There is a lot of smoking in the movie, but, like the acting, the script is strong, and the story is interesting and made me want to write something, though not 5,000 words a day with a pencil.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Christopher Winter, age 61 (USA)
Movie Critics
…The film looks wonderful. …A solid debut from director Grandage with a superb, triumphant performance from Jude Law…
Paul Heath, The Hollywood News
…An interesting subject that remains impervious to dramatization… a classy but dull literary love affair…
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
…the movie-dutifully shot in shades of old-timey sepia-does get better as its staginess falls away, but far too much drama stays on the page… [C]
Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
…Michael Grandage’s homage to one of the great unsung heroes of American literature feels lifeless, despite its all-star cast. …
Peter Debruge, Variety
…Colin Firth and Jude Law's literary bromance needs an edit… hammily acted, overstylised and lacking in subtlety… [2/5]
Henry Barnes, The Guardian
…a colourless chore… [2/5]
Tim Robey, The Telegraph [UK]
…Made up largely of conversations—including way too many in which Perkins discusses ways for Wolfe to cut down his prose – the story indulges in long scenes focused on dialogue. When Grandage decides scenes are running on too long, he just changes the location, so exchanges jump from the office to stations, to trains and to the street, but the waffling continues. …
Kaleem Aftab, The Independent [UK]

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