Hemingway & GellhornFeature Film
The legendary literary couple falls short.
HBO's latest made-for-TV film endeavor Hemingway & Gellhorn follows the romance and lives of novelist Ernest Hemingway (Clive Owen) and journalist Martha Gellhorn (Nicole Kidman). Though it has all the necessary components of a hit HBO film (big name stars, historical landscapes, and a cast of well known character actors appearing every few minutes), Hemingway & Gellhorn fails to illustrate any real intimacy or gripping drama.
Like many historically based dramas or biopics, it is clear early on that too much history is going to be covered in too little time. Oscar-nominated director Peter Kaufmann sweeps effortlessly through the origins of the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Communism in China, and the beginning of World War II, though his characters get lost along the way, which leaves viewers with a very long history lesson and very little affinity toward the story at hand. With such a rushed sense of history, supporting roles come off as caricatures and it is not long before the clichéd and stereotyped dialogue of Owen's Hemingway begins to sting like a toothache you can't seem to shake.
Where Hemingway & Gellhorn succeeds in presenting a researched history of the events surrounding the writers' time together, it equally lacks a distinct and engrossing representation of the characters themselves. The constant integration of newsreel footage, frequent shots of an older looking Kidman narrating the film, and a scene with Robert Duvall trying to speak with a Russian accent but sounding more like Don Corleone never quite let you forget that you're watching a movie.
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