In the early 1940s, Allen Ginsberg is an English major at Columbia University, only to learn more than he bargained for. Dissatisfied by the orthodox attitudes of the school, Allen finds himself drawn to iconoclastic colleagues like Lucien Carr, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Together, this gang would explore bold new literary ideas that would challenge the sensibilities of their time as the future Beat Generation. However, for all their creativity, their very appetites and choices lead to more serious transgressions that would mark their lives forever. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Columbia University library tour guide proudly identifies a book as a first folio edition of "Hamlet." There is no such edition. "Hamlet" was published in quarto editions (half the size of folio) during Shakespeare's life. The only folio editions of Shakespeare's work were the posthumous collections of his complete plays. See more »
I watched this with a gay friend. At the end of which, I asked him what he thought of it? He hated it, he said. When I asked why, he said because it simply reinforces prejudice -- the misguided belief that gay people are sick, dysfunctional and/or psychotic. He is utterly fed up with seeing gay people portrayed this way, he said, and that there are better songs worth singing. I can see his point.
As someone who was into the Beats in my University days not so much for their literary output as for their legend - I always felt that Ginsberg came across as a rather unattractive, libertine, amoral, corruptive, twerp. Daniel Radcliffe gives him a goody two-shoes makeover. The physical casting overall is good except for Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac. He lacks the looks, charisma and sensitive masculinity that made Kerouac an Icon. Major fail.
Radcliffe's Ginsberg is like an innocent abroad who falls into a life of drug addled debauchery whilst remaining doe-eyed and strangely incorruptible. If I didn't know the story better, I might have bought it. Such is the power of Danny's wholesomeness.
In the final analysis, I reference my friend again. How many out of ten would he give it? Five, he replied. If it's a true sorry, it's a true story, he said. Still, it wasn't a story that needed retelling. I agree with him, there are better songs worth singing.
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