Hemingway's Garden of Eden Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 2, 2012
A writer and his wife take up with an Italian woman, and the three form an odd love triangle filled with lust and temptation.
Garden of Eden confuses me. I haven't read the novel, but after the film, I want to. From what I can tell from the film, it seems like a first draft -- ideas that Papa plays with but hasn't developed into real characters yet. As Catherine transforms herself and her husband into carbon copies and as Catherine expresses her sexual obsession with Marita, it seems like Hemingway is exploring the slippery nature of sexuality -- how one can experiment with one's sexual identity. But what Hemingway specifically says about this concept remains unclear.
It's doubtless that the story David writes -- told in flashbacks starring Matthew Modine -- is a mess. It's Hemingway's fantasies about manhood expressed through hunting and domination over nature. But this story has little to do with the frame story and doesn't give us any significant insight into David's character.
Overall, I wonder if the novel is this incomplete because although the film has the beginnings of some interesting additions to Hem's oeuvre, it ultimately doesn't amount to much.
Super Reviewer
½ March 17, 2011
Consider me in the minority, but I actually really enjoyed this film. The acting fits better than I had originally thought and it works on the perfect period piece level of looking and feeling out of this century.
½ February 6, 2012
This movie was hard to relate to as life is nothing like this anymore. The cast was good, but overall the story was lacking.
December 20, 2011
Ernest Hemingway's novel 'Garden of Eden' was published posthumously (25 years or so after the author's death) and after the film adaptation was made it set on a shelf for a few years before somebody found a worthy-enough reason to release it (I don't know what that worthy reason would be as the film is frightfully awful and I can find nothing redeeming with it whatsoever). The film's title lets the audience in on the secret that it is BEYOND bad as its director, John Irvin (Widow's Peak, Hamburger Hill), tried to salvage the wreck and give it some prestige by emblazoning poor Ernest's last name before the title of this trashy piece of junk. David Bourne (Jack Huston - Outlander, Factory Girl, 'Shrooms) is a young, American writer living in Paris who hasn't found much success with his pen when he meets his future wife Catherine (Mena Suvari - American Beauty, American Pie, Domino) -- a wealthy, restless, adventuresome, domineering troublemaker whom is EXTREMELY un-likable (three minutes into the film I hated her ... how Mr. Bourne pursues her and than marries her is beyond comprehension). She pouts and whines and cries and bullies and invents bedroom role-playing scenarios that are disturbing to say th least. On an extended honeymoon in Spain, the pair inhabit a rather isolated cottage complete with a few supporting characters (oh -- "the help") that allow Catherine to manipulate and test her husband's devotion. Thirty-minutes into the film you realize you can care less about ALL of it ... and I just waited for it to be over. The movie has a very B-movie feel to it and parts of it play-out like cheap skinemax erotica-wannabe. To avoid even harsher criticism, I'll simply conclude with "there is nothing good here" -- that way one can this out to be as bad as he/she wishes.
½ November 6, 2011
interesting period piece about a hemingway book i was not at all familiar with kinda semi-auto biographical (like all his stuff)
June 30, 2012
convoluted story line.
December 17, 2011
Very very deep. Perfect exploration of crushes of human spirits. Even sex scenes inside speaks! Amazing masterpiece!
½ May 16, 2011
I'm not sure why this movie was so poorly received. I enjoyed it's seductive story and elegant cinematography. Sure, there are some loose ends, but it's still sensual fun. (As a side note, Anthony read the book and thought it was a pretty decent adaptation.)
½ April 15, 2011
Only good thing about this movie is poster. I read the book and I expected much more. In the end, elephant is the best character. Or at least, the most convincing
½ March 31, 2011
(**): Thumbs Down

Not as sexy or provocative as one would hope. This is a strange but ultimately unmemorable film.
March 30, 2011
Movie itself was a bit too weird for me. But, Mena Suvari and Caterina Murino and were so beautiful and sexy, it made up for the weirdness in the movie.
½ March 16, 2011
good acting/strange story/great scenery
½ January 15, 2011
Caterina Murino , my new favorite Italian actress .....
½ December 14, 2010
Bland and utterly lame
December 12, 2010
Theres so many reasons not to watch this movie just stay as far away as possible.
December 10, 2010
Why would anyone bother to adapt bad, unfinished Hemingway?
December 8, 2010
Its release has been delayed two years, there's a reason. Why didn't they take that time originally to make a better film? They had the actors for it, the cast is good, the film, however is rather slow and meaningless.
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