Genius

Genius

DVD - 2016
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A stirring drama about the complex friendship and transformative professional relationship between book editor Maxwell Perkins (who discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway) and Thomas Wolfe.
Publisher: Los Angeles, CA :, Roadside Attractions LLC,, [2016]
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (104 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
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I watched this with the idea of skipping through the boring bits. There were NO boring bits. I watched every second, and found it enthralling. While I will never find the time to read Wolfe, I am glad I got the background on him and on the man who brought his books to the public.

a
atfrancis
Aug 08, 2018

Really enjoy seeing Colin Firth in these serious dramatic roles. If you enjoyed him in this movie watch "A Single Man".

A movie about novelist Thomas Wolfe and his Scribner's editor Maxwell Perkins. A must-see if you are a Jude Law or Colin Firth fan. I wonder if people still read LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL. Probably only American Lit grad students. The Beats were advocates for Wolfe's work. But do people still read Jack Kerouac novels? Anyhow, this movie explores the craft of writing and American romanticism. Worth checking out.

x
xod_s
Jul 23, 2018

A stirring drama about the complex friendship and transformative professional relationship between book editor Maxwell Perkins (who discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway) and Thomas Wolfe.

I like movies which are about the creative (production) process and this one is about literary figures and the compromises made to their loved ones for the sake of work and it's artistic merits. The closeness which Thomas Wolfe/Jude Law has to develop to get Maxwell Perkin's/Colin Firth's attention between his own family, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and even Wolfe's loved one Aline Bernstein (a set and costume designer played by Nicole Kidman) -- Wolfe isn't always as empathetic to others as he could be even after the exhaustive editing process done for 'Of time and the river'.

The meaning of ~'writing autobiographically is the only way to write'..I wonder if it could mean something different in an epoch in which narrative content is much more accessible, not the least with audiobooks `_` .

c
COURIER3
Jul 05, 2018

I knew nothing of Thomas Wolfe until now, who was a real nut case. Why was Colin Firth always wearing a hat, even at dinner? Was dull and boring at times but I stuck it out. Was Kidman a girl friend or wife????

m
milirick
Jul 02, 2018

Took me a bit of time to realize this movie wasn't about Wolfe but his editor although the theatrical trailers of course suggested the opposite. Beautifully filmed and believable story about largely forgotten giants of literature. It is ironic Fitzgerald gets a brief mention here and there in this movie when he is the one who survived in the public realm to the 21st century mainly due to his Gatsby being required reading in school as well as the numerous film adaptations of the same. I won't even mention Hemingway since the film barely has him around at all. The film ends a bit abruptly, regardless of this, its authenticity certainly feels real so does its look and overarching mood. As biopics of fiction writers go it is interesting enough to make you want to pick up his book.

j
jonnybroom
Apr 29, 2018

I enjoyed this movie, as much for the performances as for the story. Colin Firth is as remarkable for his reserve as Jude Law is for his larger-than-life Thos. Wolfe. And Guy Pearce convinces me as F. Scott Fitzgerald. The women, Kidman and Linney, are fine, too, but they play footnotes to the men. It's always a good sign when a movie about an author makes you want to read his or her work. I may get to "Look Homeward Angel" before I check out. The movie looks good, too, with its re-creations of 30s New York.

b
BlueHippo
Apr 25, 2018

I knew very little about Thomas Wolf and nothing about Max Perkins and enjoyed this movie very much. Acting was great. The “look” of the film was very 1920=1930’s. The only thing I would have enjoyed would have been a note at the end explaining what happened to Max Perkins in later years and when he died.

a
akirakato
Mar 14, 2018

Directed by Michael Grandage in 2016 based on the 1978 National Book Award-winner "Max Perkins: Editor of Genius" by A. Scott Berg, this British-American docudrama depicts the turbulent friendship between world-renowned edito Maxwell Parkins and the larger-than-life writer Thomas Wolfe.
In 1925, Thomas Wolfe met Aline Bernstein (1880–1955), a scene designer for the Theatre Guild.
Twenty years his senior, she was married to a successful stockbroker with whom she had two children.
In October 1925, she and Wolfe became lovers and remained so for five years.
Their affair was also turbulent and sometimes combative, but she exerted a powerful influence, encouraging and funding his writing.
It would be more fun if the film delved into the writer's relationship with Mrs. Bernstein.

m
marieloudavril
Mar 05, 2018

I enjoyed this movie reflecting beautiful, poetic and passionate writing and the complicated relationship and friendship between the book editor and the writer. A stirring drama with great supporting actors. Sensitivity and deep emotions by Firth Colin actor made it worth it to watch. Also, good acting of Nicole Kidman.

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j
jimg2000
Nov 27, 2016

"Look Homeward, Angel" draft opening in the film:
A stone, a leaf, an unfound door
of a stone, a leaf, a door.
And of all the forgotten faces.
Which of us has known his brother?
Which of us has looked into his father's heart?
Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent?
Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?
Remembering, speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language,
the lost Lane-end into heaven,
a stone, a leaf, an unfound door.
Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2016

Unedited, or rather excerpt, "Look Homeward, Angel' book opening:
. . . a stone, a leaf, an unfound door;
of a stone, a leaf, a door.
And of all the forgotten faces.
Naked and alone we came into exile. 
In her dark womb we did not know our mother's face;
from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.
Which of us has known his brother? 
Which of us has looked into his father's heart? 
Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent?
Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?
O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this most weary unbright cinder, lost!
Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language,
the lost lane-end into heaven,
a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. 
Where?  When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2016

Some books are supposed to be long, you know? Thank Christ Tolstoy never met you. We'd have that great novel "War and 'Nothing'."
===
God damn! It's the tip of the iceberg, Tom.
-You're giving me the full iceberg.
===
Pink is never just pink. It's a thousand other things, all profoundly important to him. All variations on his psychological state. Every image and the sound of every word matters.
-No, it doesn't.
Nonsense. They're vital!
-You're losing the plot.
Vital!
-Well, what did you hear when you fell in love? What did you hear? Clattering?
The point is it was all happening inside him. His life changed, no one else in the room noticed anything.
-Then make that the point.
I hate to see the words go!
-Maybe the larger question is this. In a book crowded with great rolling mountains of prose, how is this moment profoundly different? Because it's simple. Unadorned. Like lightning.
Standing out in the black sky by its starkness.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2016

Editors should be anonymous. More than that, there's always the fear that I deformed your book. Who's to say it wasn't the way it was meant to be when you first brought it in? War and peace. Not just war. ... That's what we editors lose sleep over, you know? Are we really making books better? Or just making them different?
===
It's one damn vacation, for Christ's sake! Louise, a writer like tom, i get one in a lifetime.
-You get your daughters for the same lifetime.
===
I'll tell you one thing, my friend. You wouldn't do this to Hemingway. You wouldn't do this to Fitzgerald, not to your two goddamn sacred cows! Every word they write is golden genius!

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2016

I've been away so long, we have to celebrate my return to the greatest of nations with all things American. I have to eat some wieners and, and walk the city and drink us some serious liquor. I mean,
can one man do it? Write his whole life story fairly? Honestly? Like proust, without all the upholstery.
===
This is where I wrote look homeward, angel. I would come here every twilight and look at the city and dream of what my life might be, till the stars came out. The stars in the sky. The lights in the buildings. All those lights. All the power of life.
-You're not frivolous, Tom.
I think back in the caveman days, our ancestors would huddle around the fire at night and wolves would be howling in the dark, just beyond the light. And one person would start talking. And he would tell a story, so we wouldn't be so scared in the dark.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2016

I'm a writer. All I do is spend time alone.
-No, you spend time with your characters. You've never been alone.
===
But god help anyone who loves you, Tom. Because for all your talk and all your millions of beautiful words, you haven't the slightest idea of what it means to be alive. To look into another person's eyes and ache for him.
===
You're nothing but a coward! Stuck in that sterile little office. Every beautiful thing in you stunted. You don't have the first idea what it is to be alive! You don't know what it is to wake up and grab hold of life every day and fight with it. You're just so goddamn scared to live.
-There are other ways to live! There's loving your children and seeing them grow up right. There's providing for your family. There's doing work that's important and giving to other people.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2016

I've been rambling around for months now. Haven't had anybody to talk to about work.
-Ah. Work.
I mean, who better to talk to? The man who created something immortal. More and more, i trouble myself with that. "The legacy." Will anyone care about Thomas Wolfe in 100 years? Ten years?
-When I was young, i asked myself that question every day. Now, I ask myself, "can I write one good sentence?"
===
The last time i saw my father, I was standing at a train window, when I went north to college. He just got smaller and smaller as we pulled away, until I couldn't see him anymore. That train carried me to my life. Beyond the hills and over the rivers. And always, the rivers run. Sometimes they flow away from my father and sometimes they flow back to his door. I have to prove i can do it by myself.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2016

The letter ***Spoiler Alert***

I've made a long voyage and been to a strange country and I've seen the dark man very close. And I don't think I was too much afraid of him. But I want most desperately to live. I want to see you again. For there is such impossible anguish and regret for all I can never say to you, for all the work I have to do. I feel as if a great window has been opened on life. And if I come through this, I hope to god I am a better man and can live up to you. But most of all, I wanted to tell you, no matter what happens, I shall always feel about you the way I did that November day when you met me at the boat and we went on top of the building and all the strangeness and the glory and the power of life were below.

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