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Genius (2016)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 10 June 2016 (USA)
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A chronicle of Max Perkins's time as the book editor at Scribner, where he oversaw works by Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.

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(screenplay), (based on the book by)
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958 ( 26)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Gillian Hanna ...
Julia Wolfe
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Bertha Perkins
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Zippy Perkins
Katya Watson ...
Jane Perkins
Lorna Doherty ...
Peggy Perkins
Makenna McBrierty ...
Nancy Perkins
Miquel Brown ...
Eleanor, Perkins' Maid
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John Wheelock
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Storyline

When, one day in 1929, writer Thomas Wolfe decided to keep the appointment made by Max Perkins, editor at Scribner's, he had no illusions: his manuscript would be turned down as had invariably been the case. But, to his happy amazement, his novel, which was to become "Look Homeward, Angel," was accepted for publication. The only trouble was that it was overlong (by 300 pages) and had to be reduced. Although reluctant to see his poetic prose trimmed, Wolfe agreed and was helped by Perkins, who had become a true friend, with the result that it instantly became a favorite with the critics and a best seller. Success was even greater in 1935 when "Of Time and the River" appeared, but the fight for reducing Wolfe's logorrheic written expression had been even harder, with the novel originally at 5,000 pages. Perkins managed to cut 90,000 words from the book, and with bitterness ultimately taking its toll, the relationships between the two men gradually deteriorated. Wolfe did not feel ... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Max Perkins discovered Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But he never met anyone like Thomas Wolfe.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive content | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

10 June 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pasión por las letras  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$98,274 (USA) (10 June 2016)

Gross:

$1,358,018 (USA) (12 August 2016)
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| (opening sequence)

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 144.877. See more »

Goofs

Maxwell Perkins tells Thomas Wolfe his book needs a new title that will appeal to potential purchasers, and gives the example of F. Scott Fitzgerald changing the title of a novel from "Trimalchio in West Egg" to "The Great Gatsby." The real Perkins, as Fitzgerald's editor, certainly would have known that "The Great Gatsby" was a flop upon its release in 1925 and did not sell well until the 1950s. See more »

Quotes

Aline Bernstein: I don't exist anymore. I've been edited.
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Soundtracks

Flow Gently Sweet Afton
(Sottish traditional)
Composed by Jonathan E. Spillman
(1873)
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User Reviews

Observe a great editor work with a great writer.
21 June 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again." ― Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel

Max Perkins (Colin Firth) was the genius Scribner's magazine editor, who helped Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Wolfe become iconic American writers. The watchable Genius, directed by Michael Grandage with a sure understanding of drama, is mostly Thomas Wolfe's (Jude Law) story. The taciturn Max provides the necessary guidance to make sure the book belongs to the writer while Max delivers "good books into the hands of readers."

Although the film is engrossingly placed in Perkin's pv, Wolfe dominates through his exuberant personality and unending energy. While Firth plays Perkins as the conservative but imaginative editor, Law is the reason to see the film, a brilliant acting turn reminiscent of his over-the-top Dom Hemingway. Law simply has never been better than as Wolfe.

The sepia look of the film is appropriate to the 1929 setting of NYC, and Nicole Kidman as his other muse, Aline Bernstein, is memorably smart and vulnerable when it comes to dealing with manic Wolfe. Although Laura Linney as Louise Perkins is lost in spotty, low energy appearances, her general good cheer carries nicely for a Perkins of whom the audience has grown fond.

Because I am always seeking a biography that will show the creative labors of artists, Genius satisfies me when Perkins and Wolfe struggle over the manuscripts. After experiencing Genius, I have seen two sterling examples.


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