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Genius

Director:  Michael Grandage
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  1.0

No, this isn't about Thomas Pynchon or James Joyce. Famed editor Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth) - who edited many literary greats (like Papa and Scott) at Scribner's - takes on the work of maximalist Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), who never knew the word 'brevity': the two argue over Perkins' extensive cuts to the texts when not trying to comfort Wolfe's difficult actress girlfriend Aline Bernstein (Nicole Kidman). As I've said many times before, it's a challenge to make films about writers (largely solitary, drunken people) watchable: Wolfe's ranting mad man is the exact opposite of taciturn Perkins, and there is, unfortunately, several frantic scenes of scribbling and throwing paper around to suggest "aggressive artistic invention" (ho-hum). It defends Wolfe's (numerous) indulgences against the dreary times he lived in (and fatherly Perkins' minimalism), but to suggest he was just as gifted as Hemingway and Fitzgerald is a bit much (in my opinion): a more reasonable title would have been "Talented (But Too Self-Absorbed)."

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