Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hemingway & Gellhorn: The Good and the Bad

I may be a trifle late with this. I DVR'ed "Hemingway and Gellhorn" back when it first aired and only just got around to watching it.

Overall I liked it, especially Clive Owen's performance when Hemingway starts to talk about writing. I enjoyed the use of his actual advice about the craft.

And while I did not/do not personally find Martha Gellhorn a sympathetic person, (I'm never gonna "get" leftist atheist's) Nicole Kidman's portrayal was excellent - she was charismatic and charming and you have to respect her drive and ambition, but likeable for me?
No. But Hell, we don't have to like people to appreciate them.
She struck me as very bitter, especially in the sense that for the rest of her life she did not want Hemingway mentioned in interviews. I wanted to shout at her to get over herself, because when you were/are married to an icon, people will want to talk about it.

The makeup on Nicole Kidman to look elderly was fantastic, they even gave her slightly bloodshot eyes. Its awful when makeup does bad elderly. (Guy Pierce/Waylon in Prometheus for example) The cast, sets, costumes, cinematography were all wonderful...
BUT
I thought the last ten minutes could have/should have been left on the cutting room floor.

I understand why the movie played out like it did (for the dramatic effect) but that's also why I was sore with the ending.

I didn't like that the film played Hemingway off as the only cheater - Gellhorn had an affair while they were married too. I didn't like the final focus on Hemingway to be his suicide simply because is that really the ending of he and Gellhorn?
No, that was back in 1945.
And if we are gonna play that game, why not have Gellhorn committing suicide as well? She did. Instead of having her heroically marching out the door, off to another battle to report on.

To me, you can't tell a story of two people and leave it so lopsided. I would sooner believe he haunted her than the other way around.

The remembrance angle could have been used without having Hemingway being annoyed with Mary Welsh (Parker Posey) and the dig with the Italian song at how Hemingway and Gelhorn met- as if in his final moments he was pinning for Gellhorn - I honestly do not believe he was.
He wasn't that kind of man to be pinning away for only one.

After I finished watching I had to go and reread some of Hemingway's short stories about the Spanish Civil War. Under the Ridge is hilarious and deadly serious at the same time, brilliant.

4 comments:

T Bryan Vick said...

Good post. I've been wanting to see this movie for some time now.

David J. West said...

Yeah, Todd it was pretty good overall. Thanks for dropping in.

Kika said...

Thank you for a well written post.
Would you know the name of the Italian song sung at Sloppy Joe Bar between Martha and Hemingway?

David J. West said...

Thanks Kika, I feel like I knew the song back when I watched this but have since forgotten and no longer have the DVR'ed copy, so your guess is as good as mine.
Thanks for commenting.