March 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm #241439
So here’s the other HBO TV movie eligible for the Emmys.
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Clive Owen, Robert Duvall, David Strathairn, Parker Posey, Tony Shalhoub
Written by: Jerry Stahl, Barbra Turner
Directed by: Philip KaufmanMarch 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm #241441
Yup, Julianne just won her second Emmy.
As for this, is this based on a source material?April 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm #241442
Here’s the full trailer and I have to say, this looks HOT!April 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm #241443
No Nicole, don’t do this again with Julie!April 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm #241444
Julianne vs. Nicole. Biggest Emmy race this year. Watch.
-MorganApril 23, 2012 at 11:22 pm #241445
The Nicole-Julianne fight will be more intense ten years after the first one.
Julianne has the upper hand, but HBO is doing all the stops for Hemingway & Gellhorn this year. it will be launched at the Cannes Film Festival before the premiere on HBO. The only other time they did that was for Life and Death of Peter Sellers in 2005. This is gonna be interesting.
However, aside from Lange, it is safe to say that that all the other awards will be going to HBO again both for Game Change and Hemingway and Gellhorn.
At first, I thought it was more of a Owen-centric perspective, but when I saw the full trailer. Dang, it was so cinematic. I won’t be surprised if they sweep Directing, Movie/Mini, Actor and Actress.April 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm #241446
Wow, this movie is outstanding!! I fully believe it will easily win for movie, directing, Clive Owen, and quite a few technical categories (specifically music, costumes, cinematography, editing, and makeup). Owen has tons of things to do and is magnetic every time he appears on screen (which is a lot).
If Julianne Moore wasn’t in this race, Nicole Kidman would also win. It will be extremely tight between the two of them. Kidman has way, way more screentime than Moore. Moore has a character that people already know, so a comparison can be made by voters.
Unfortunately, the three supporting performers (Molly Parker, Tony Shalhoub, and David Strathairn) don’t have a lot of screentime. Any and all of them could get nominated, but I don’t think any would win.
If this had been a theatrical film, it probably could have done well with Oscar voters. In fact, it is as good as just about any movie I have seen in the past two years.
Now that your expectations have been built too much, you might not like as much as I did. But I hope you do.April 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm #241447
I’m still thin king Kidman will win the Emmy. All the buzz seems like shifting with Hemingway & Gellhorn especially after the Cannes premiere and the May playdate. It’s gonna be everywhere that time. However, it seems like Game Change will still win a thing or two (re: Harris) just like how Mildred Pierce performed against Downton Abbey last year.April 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm #241448
I was not here when Julianne vs. Nicole 1.0 happened, so the cray in the next few months should be interesting. Awesome review of the film Boomer! That and the trailer makes it a must see.April 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm #241449
I really couldn’t provide a true review since it airs a month from now, but the info I provided should help us all make our Emmy predictions without giving anything away about what happens.
By the way, I loved “Game Change” as well, so it is exciting to have at least two major contenders. I also really liked “Page Eight” but did not care too much about “The Hour” beyond its first installment. Looking forward to “Hatfields and McCoys.”April 25, 2012 at 3:37 am #241450
Boomer, how big is Robert Duvall’s role? Does he only have a cameo appearance?
I’m fine with either Moore or Kidman (sight unseen) winning Emmy, but Moore has to win GG. Kidman doesn’t need the fourth GG while Moore only has one (ensemble). This will be very interesting when it comes to SAG since it has eluded both of them.
And will Jessica Lange in AHS season 2 compete in a miniseries/movie at GG and SAG?April 25, 2012 at 5:54 am #241451
Duvall has one big impressive scene and is just in the background for a couple of others. He was not in 5% of the movie, so he is ineligible to compete at the Emmys.May 25, 2012 at 11:46 am #241452
Variety’s review, and it ain’t pretty:
Hemingway & Gellhorn
(Movie; HBO, Mon. May 28, 9 p.m.)
by Brian Lowry
Filmed in San Francisco by Attaboy Films and Walrus & Associates. Executive producers, Peter Kaufman, Trish Hofmann, James Gandolfini, Alexandra Ryan, Barbara Turner; co-executive producers, Nancy Sanders, Mark Armstrong; director, Philip Kaufman; writers, Jerry Stahl, Turner.
Martha Gellhorn – Nicole Kidman
Ernest Hemingway – Clive Owen
John Dos Passos – David Strathairn
Zarra – Rodrigo Santoro
Pauline Hemingway – Molly Parker
Mary Welsh Hemingway – Parker Posey
Koltsov – Tony Shalhoub
Robert Capa – Santiago Cabrera
Joris Ivens – Lars Ulrich
Maxwell Perkins – Peter Coyote
Madame Chiang – Joan Chen
Sidney Franklin – Saverio Guerra
Mrs. Gellhorn – Diane Baker
As swollen and heavy-handed as a bad imitation Hemingway contest, everything about “Hemingway & Gellhorn” screams vanity project, including the marquee talent, Cannes premiere (it’s not TV, after all) and timing to achieve maximum exposure during the current awards window. None of that, however, can obscure the movie’s hollow center—or an overlong period piece that’s earnest and handsome, true, but strangely inert, and perhaps because Ernest Hemingway’s larger-than-life persona is so familiar, frequently feels stilted and clichéd. For history and Hemingway fans who might want to like the movie, there’s no loss in bidding farewell to its charms.
For starters, the title billing is a bit inaccurate, since the narrative is really the story of Martha Gellhorn (Nicole Kidman), an intrepid war correspondent who dazzled a then-married Hemingway, becoming his lover and eventually one of his wives.
Gellhorn, who died in 1998, huskily narrates the whole affair in flashback, beginning with her and Papa’s first encounter in the Key West bar Sloppy Joe’s, where the famous author—still spattered with blood from a Marlin he’s caught—snappily says, “Big game’s no fun if it just wanders up to you.”
At first glance, Clive Owen seems like an inspired choice to play Hemingway, but he’s reduced to snarl and swagger. Then again, virtually every choice by director Philip Kaufman proves questionable, from the deadening use of grainy footage meant to approximate old newsreels to the over-the-top score composed by Javier Navarrette.
Not only does the washed-out imagery prove distracting, but if the goal was to heighten the movie’s authenticity or replicate the documentary Hemingway’s working on, the device simply can’t erase the star power of the Kidman-Owen pairing.
The main narrative surrounds the central couple bonding as they chronicle the heroic struggle of anti-fascists in Spain, where they’re joined by writer John Dos Passos (a squandered David Strathairn), among others. To offer some clue as to the movie’s overall tone, when the pair finally consummate all that steamy flirtation, bombs literally explode in the background, exhibiting all the subtlety of James Bond credits.
Of course, that’s after Hemingway sees Gellhorn covered with blood—for him, an aphrodisiac. “You’re more of a man than most men I’ve met,” he grunts.
Despite Kaufman’s impressive resume, it’s a long way back to “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” which in terms of his filmography is “Hemingway’s” closest (albeit much more satisfying) cousin.
The steadfast focus on the squabbling duo’s globe-trotting, tumultuous relationship wastes what could have been a splendid supporting cast, including Molly Parker as Hemingway’s censorious first wife, Tony Shalhoub, Peter Coyote, Parker Posey and Joan Chen as Chiang Kai-shek’s English-speaking wife. Robert Duvall also turns up in an uncredited cameo as a nutty Russian general.
The best perf, frankly, is delivered by San Francisco, convincingly standing in (with the help of effects) for all those exotic 1930s locales.
Considerable effort and care clearly went into that process, but unlike the city by the Bay, there’s not much heart left in “Hemingway & Gellhorn.”
Camera, Rogier Stoffers; production designer, Geoffrey Kirkland; editor, Walter Murch; music, Javier Navarrette; music supervisor, Evyen J Klean; casting, Victoria Thomas. 150 MIN.
With: Robert Duvall.May 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm #241453
Hollywood Reporter’s review:
“Hemingway & Gellhorn”: Cannes Review
5/25/2012 by Todd McCarthy
The Bottom Line: A dynamic, vivid, well-acted look at two major 20th century writers who shared wars on the battlefront and at home.
9 p.m. Monday, May 28 (HBO)
Nicole Kidman, Clive Owen, David Strathairn, Rodrigo Santoro, Lars Ulrich, Joan Chen
Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen are convincing in Philip Kaufman’s kaleidoscopic biographical study, which will premiere on HBO on May 28.
How is it that Nicole Kidman so excels when portraying real-life 20th century writers? Which is to say that, 10 years after her turn as Virginia Woolf in “The Hours,” she’s outstanding as war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, who also happened to be Ernest Hemingway’s third and most independent-minded wife, in the HBO film “Hemingway & Gellhorn.”
To relate the story of the couple’s highly charged relationship, which lasted about seven years, director Philip Kaufman’s big-canvas film must shuttle between Key West, Fla., Spain, New York, Cuba, Finland, England, and China, among other destinations, and encompass the Spanish Civil War, the Soviet-Finnish conflict, the Japanese occupation of China, and World War II. But most of all, it focuses upon the battles between two smart, politically driven, strong-willed people, a dynamic brought to credible life by resourceful filmmakers whose obvious enthusiasm for their subject matter somewhat outstrips the project’s resources and sense of disciplined focus. Set to start its HBO life May 28, the big-screen-worthy production received its world premiere out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
Quite apart from its dramatic and visual qualities, the first thing to be noted about this kaleidoscopic biographical study—whose other depicted characters include John Dos Passos, Robert Capa, Joris Ivens, Chiang Kai-shek, and Madame Chiang, Chou En-lai, Maxwell Perkins, and Orson Welles—is the way Kidman looks. The first image you see is of a strikingly beautiful older woman, 70ish, smoking and cementing viewer connection with her brilliant blue eyes as she scorns love and asserts her hunger for “what’s happening on the outside. Action!” She does resemble Kidman but looks too authentically old to actually be her. The question occurs: Did they get someone of the correct age—Julie Christie, Charlotte Rampling, Vanessa Redgrave—to play these interview scenes?
Later, in Madrid, after she sees Hemingway (pretty convincingly played by Clive Owen) banging out copy on his portable typewriter, not sitting but standing up, as he habitually did, Gellhorn just then admits her own inability to write anything at all, exposing her vulnerability to the most famous writer in the world. Portraying youthful distress, Kidman looks 28, not a year older or younger, which was Gellhorn’s age in 1936 when she met Hemingway. Aging up 25 years is one thing, but convincingly dropping 15 years? Not a hint of makeup or visual tinkering can be detected in either direction.
Kaufman, whose previous literary screen subjects have included Henry Miller, Anais Nin, and the Marquis de Sade, brings his two principals together where their first encounter actually happened, at Hemingway’s divey Key West hangout Sloppy Joe’s, in a bantering, flirtatious scene worthy of a ’30s Hollywood film. Gellhorn is with her parents, and Hem is married, so nothing will happen then and there. But the connection has been made, and when the heavyweight writer, now 37, decides to go to Spain, he seems as driven by his urge to join Gellhorn there as by his desire to support the Loyalist cause by participating in the making of Ivens’ anti-Franco documentary film “The Spanish Earth.”
The first half of “Hemingway & Gellhorn,” centering on the passions, turmoil, and tragedy of the Spanish Civil War, is by some distance the better portion. Setting much of the action in the cavernous lobby of Madrid’s Hotel Florida (re-created in the main reception hall of the old Oakland train station), Kaufman energetically directs a great deal of human traffic in and out of the establishment, including most of the foreign press, Russian operatives, and abundant Spanish prostitutes. Hem holds forth at the bar, challenges a Soviet general (Robert Duvall, who once played Stalin) to Russian roulette and joins Ivens (Lars Ulrich), Dos Passos (David Strathairn), Capa (Santiago Cabrera), and heroic local fighter Zarra (Rodrigo Santoro), usually with Gellhorn in tow, out into the countryside to capture intense battle footage intended to rally the world to the Republican cause.
Hem bides his time with Gellhorn, all the while puffing up his feathers and never letting her far from his sight; conveniently, they have rooms on the same floor. She is inspired by ace Hungarian photographer Capa—“I want to write the way you take pictures,” she tells him—and handles herself with such grace under pressure that Hem admits that she’s “the bravest woman I ever saw.”
Finally, when the hotel is bombarded, the heat of battle ignites the long-simmering passion between them—in a surprisingly explicit love scene, given that there’s no indication it’s going to be that kind of movie—debris from the ceiling cascading down upon their naked bodies.
The erotic charge between the central characters, the camaraderie among the politically committed, the excitement of life being lived in peril—all this injects the first 70 minutes with an idea of how certain sympathetic outsiders regarded the fight for Spain. To re-create the conflict visually on a budget, Kaufman and his team have interpolated the actors, “Zelig”-style, into archival footage of the conflict. The effect is odd, almost surreal at times; it’s not exactly convincing but, in its own way, reasonable and charming if accepted for what it is.
As to the matter of Hemingway’s character and ideology, the script by Jerry Stahl and Barbara Turner downplays aspects of the writer’s real-life moral depredations, personal nastiness, and political naiveté that, if portrayed in full, might have turned viewers irreparably from him. Never a sophisticated or insightful political thinker, Hemingway had made up his mind about who the good guys and bad guys were long before he arrived in Spain and, once there, allowed himself to be used by the Communists for their own purposes. The character of Zarra would seem to be based on Dos Passos’ real-life close friend and translator Jose Robles, who, falsely accused of being a spy, was abducted and executed by Stalin’s secret police. When Hemingway took a blithe “these things happen in war” attitude toward the incident and began ridiculing Dos Passos as a softie, a permanent breach set in between the longtime friends.
The film doesn’t make much out of all this and almost seems to endorse Hemingway’s subsequent characterization of Dos Passos as a cowering lightweight, so flustered and ineffective at defending himself does the then-prominent author come across in Strathairn’s performance.
Eventually, after Hemingway’s Catholic second wife Pauline (Molly Parker) grudgingly grants him a divorce, Hem and Gellhorn are able to marry. But despite a blissful respite at Finca Vigia, the home Gellhorn found for them in Cuba, the surge of warfare worldwide proves a siren call for Gellhorn. The best interlude of the film’s second half depicts the couple’s “honeymoon” trip to China, where Hem admiringly observes his wife’s testy interview with the imperious Madame Chiang Kai-shek (a very good Joan Chen), the latter’s powerful husband sitting by her side fussing with his dentures, after which the Americans are transported blindfolded on a long boat trip to an unknown destination for a meeting with insurgent leader Chou En-lai. The cracklingly smart dialogue during this exchange, along with Anthony Brandon Wong’s superb turn as Mao Tse-tung’s longtime strategist and diplomat, makes evident why the Hemingways returned to personally predict to FDR that the Communists would eventually prevail in China.
After Gellhorn’s demonstrated preference for war zones over domesticity has basically left the marriage at a standstill, she delivers the perfect (and reportedly authentic) exit line when, returning to London to visit an injured Hem in hospital and finding his latest lady (and next wife) Mary Welsh with him, she quips, “I guess I just came by for a divorce.” Gellhorn never saw Hemingway again, and the film should have stopped there. Unfortunately, it carries on, with borderline tasteless impositions of Gellhorn’s face over those of dead victims she sees at Dachau, followed by ill-advised depictions of Hemingway’s much-later electroshock and suicide, events far from Gellhorn’s life.
The film is about a couple and their tumultuous time together, but it does tilt somewhat toward Gellhorn, due in part to Kidman but perhaps more so because this was a woman who, in a way, out-manned Hemingway; whereas before, he was the one always leaving wife and kids at home to chase some war or sporting interest, now he wants to stay at home and write fiction while she craves the latest battlefront. Not interested, as she suggests at the beginning, in sentiment, kids, or a husband (she never married again), Gellhorn feeds off of conflict, leaving Hem to stew in his own sauce as a self-styled submarine “spy” on his fishing boat in that wartime hotspot, the Caribbean.
With his tousled hair, mustache, and filled-out frame, Owen cuts a big, vigorous, roistering figure as Hemingway; he’s good with the repartee that defines the central relationship from the outset and easily becomes the center of attention wherever he goes. At times, one wishes to see something more going on behind the eyes or to detect more complicated feelings in him when Gellhorn resists his wishes and doesn’t go along the way women always have before, but it’s a stand-up job in a demanding role.
Kidman is terrific in certain scenes and merely very good in others; there are a few too many moments of her traipsing around Spain, blond hair flying glamorously, not knowing quite what she’s doing there. But for the most part, she rivets one’s attention, lifting the entire enterprise by her presence.
Entirely and effectively shot in Northern California, doubling for much of the world, the film looks rich and resplendent, perhaps at times even too spiffy and pristine. Geoffrey Kirkland’s production design and Ruth Myers’ costume design are nothing if not resourceful and evocative, with Rogier Stoffers’ cinematography enhancing all their color and atmospheric detail.May 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm #241454
The Huffington Post review is WAY harsh. This film is getting mixed reviews at best. I don’t think Kidman is going to be the threat to Moore that people think she’ll be right now. With each new review I’m thinking that Moore has the Emmy in the bag.
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