Writers in movies: Hemingway & Gellhorn

Another in an occasional series.

Like An Invisible WomanHemingway & Gellhorn is about a famous novelist’s relationship with a woman — in this case, the war correspondent Martha Gellhorn.  This was an HBO original movie and got a ton of Emmy nominations.  Unlike An Invisible Woman, this movie has an A-list actress, Nicole Kidman, playing the woman.  She’s pretty good!  Clive Owen as Hemingway, however, never convinced me the way Ralph Fiennes as Dickens convinced me.  Surely the director (Philip Kaufman) could have found an American who’d have done a better job. (At least an American could have gotten the accent right.)

The other major problem with the  movie is the script.  It never settles down and becomes about anything.  It just dramatizes a series of real-life incidents, usually with clever camera work and editing, and that becomes the film.

We do, of course, see Hemingway writing, and I assume they got that right.  He types standing up, his typewriter on a dresser, floating discarded sheets of paper in the direction of a wastebasket at his feet. He types as bombs fall in the street outside, and he types after a long night of drinking, while Gellhorn is too hung over to get out of bed.  And the script is full of what I assume are accurate Hemingway quotes, such as: “Writing’s like Mass.  God gets mad if you don’t show up.”  All good stuff.  But they didn’t make me like the movie.

1 thought on “Writers in movies: Hemingway & Gellhorn

  1. Pingback: Writers in movies: Bright Star | richard bowker

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