Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (10)
| Fresh (5)
| Rotten (5)
"I do not see myself as a footnote to someone else's life," Kidman says in the movie's final minutes. The preceding two and a half hours beg to differ.
Ernest Hemingway, played with the energetic bravado of a self-made literary legend by Clive Owen, is the man who commands attention by his own design, but Gellhorn's journey from respected journalist to uncompromising war correspondent is the story here.
When people lament the lack of sophisticated adult entertainment at the movies these days, Hemingway & Gellhorn is exactly the sort of movie they're pining for
Hemingway and Gellhorn suffers because the story of a woman not wanting to be the footnote in her partner's career, whose message inadvertently becomes the footnote in a meandering mess of a biopic.
Acclaimed writers don't ring true in mature HBO biopic.
Certainly one expects as bit more from the likes of director Philip Kaufman.
Kidman is strong here as Martha Gellhorn, using her exceptional figure and old-fashioned movie star glamour to full effect.
Despite a globetrotting atmosphere of world history and lustful motivation, director Philip Kaufman falls short of a fulfilling screen investigation.
Hemingway & Gellhorn is a magnificent film, joining the ranks of Kaufman's best.
My Week with Marilyn, take note: this is a much better model for a "biopic" with two protagonists. The film's not perfect - a little wooden and jumps around in its second hour - but it makes sure to tell both characters' stories in a way that shows each's impact on the other. Furthermore, to this film's credit, it flips the "Martha Gellhorn is a footnote to the great Ernest Hemingway" binary on its head, giving her the narrative voice and challenging us to entertain the notion that, given her long and successful career as a war correspondent, we might do better to think of Papa as a footnote in her life. What you get, as a result, is the story of the dynamic between two strong-willed writers and a film reminiscent of one of my much-neglected favourites, Henry & June, also by Philip Kaufman. It's aptly titled, as it's truly about both people, and it's a smart and important addition to the Hemingway canon... regardless of whether it's actually "about" him.
Before we get started, I just wanna say, "Damn Nicki Kidman. DAT ASS!" Sleek and perky with no VPL. I imagine that's hard to do in the sweltering heat of Key West.
Nicole Kidman plays intrepid war correspondent Martha Gellhorn with spirit and guts. As the young woman, she proves to be Hem's literary and sexual equal but eventually realizes that his is a pride so crippling that it would recognize no equal. As the older woman, she wears the age make-up naturally and stretches her gravelly voice into an emotional frame story.
Clive Owen cuts a mean silhouette, but he is disappointing as Hemingway overall. His natural mush-mouthed British cadence gets mangled with Papa's gruff Patrician accent. I also have yet to see an actor deliver Papa's aphorisms without making him sound like a caricature. Owen's performance is not a huge problem though since this isn't so much a movie about Ernest Hemingway as it is a movie about Martha Gellhorn, who most literari know little about beyond her being Hem's third wife.
This new focus into the woman behind the man who refused to get behind a woman (except in the boudoir) is commendable and generally well-plotted. The action gets a little confusing throughout, especially due to the baseless changing of hues from sepia-tone to technicolor. The sex scenes get a bit Lifetimey too.
Ernest Hemingway meets his match in the person of a fellow war correspondent, Martha Gellhorn.
Despite the order of the title, this is a film about Martha Gellhorn, and it is through the lens of her life that we explore Hemingway. It's a structure that is good in theory, and the story, though as uneven and occasionally bipolar as Hem, is not one of the film's primary problems, provided one knows a lot about the politics of the time. Rather, the film mysteriously changes color like the director's four-year-old daughter wandered into the editing room; there were a few good theories as to why the film switched from color to black and white, but the next color switch defies all reason.
In theory, Clive Owen is a good Hemingway, but the British actor's voice was off, and Owen's Hem is stronger when he's vulnerable, and his legendary bluster comes off like an actor chewing scenery rather than delivering a nuanced performance. By contrast, Nicole Kidman was fantastic, delivering one of the strongest performances of her career. Strong or vulnerable, Kidman is exceptional.
Overall, this is a mixed bag with enough flaws too noticeable to ignore.
Good, but long. I found this movie very informative. I knew nothing of Martha Gellhorn till I saw this biodrama. Hemingway lived up to his player-drunkard reputation, but a softer side of him was portrayed, as well. The supporting cast was really good, also. Nicole Kidman has quite a way with masterful facial impersonations (and has one heck of a makeup artist!). The first couple of minutes of the movie is supposed to be Martha Gellhorn in her later years, and I had no idea that it was Kidman. I eventually recognized her voice, but that was really the only give away.....
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