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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.

Director:

Michael Grandage

Writers:

John Logan (screenplay by), A. Scott Berg (based on the book 'Max Perkins: Editor of Genius' by)
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Popularity
4,661 ( 41)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Colin Firth ... Max Perkins
Jude Law ... Thomas Wolfe
Nicole Kidman ... Aline Bernstein
Laura Linney ... Louise Perkins
Guy Pearce ... F. Scott Fitzgerald
Dominic West ... Ernest Hemingway
Vanessa Kirby ... Zelda Fitzgerald
Gillian Hanna Gillian Hanna ... Julia Wolfe
Angela Ashton ... Bertha Perkins
Eve Bracken ... Zippy Perkins
Katya Watson Katya Watson ... Jane Perkins
Lorna Doherty Lorna Doherty ... Peggy Perkins
Makenna McBrierty Makenna McBrierty ... Nancy Perkins
Miquel Brown Miquel Brown ... Eleanor, Perkins' Maid
Corey Johnson ... 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 June 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pasión por las letras See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$98,274, 12 June 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,358,018, 12 August 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,346,531, 4 August 2016
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Black and White (opening sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nicole Kidman described her part of Aline Bernstein as "a fiery, dark-haired, strong woman, flamboyant, ahead of her time. My kind of stuff". 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

[first lines]
John Wheelock: [throwing down a manuscript onto his desk] Might want to read this one.
Maxwell Evarts Perkins: Please tell me it's double-spaced.
John Wheelock: No such luck.
Maxwell Evarts Perkins: Where'd you get it?
John Wheelock: A woman named Aline Bernstein. The stage designer? The author's her protege. Every other publisher in town has already tuned it down.
Maxwell Evarts Perkins: Is it any good?
John Wheelock: Good? No. But it's unique.
Maxwell Evarts Perkins: A quick look.
John Wheelock: Thanks, Max. I'm in your debt.
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Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Teachers Tournament Quarterfinal Game 2 (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
'I don't exist anymore. I've been edited'
21 September 2016 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

GENIUS is the name attached to John Logan's screen lay adaptation of A. Scott Berg's 1979 novel 'Max Perkins: Editor of Genius' and Michael Granage directs a superlative cast in this recreation of the Depression of the 1930s America. Despite the fact that the film focuses on the raucous life of Thomas Wolfe, the true remarkable character throughout is Max Perkins – the editor at Scribner's in New York City who is responsible for the editing of the books of not only Wolfe but also of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The film plays the period well opening in 1929 when writer Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), decided to keep the appointment made by Max Perkins (Colin Firth), editor at Scribner's, he had no illusions: his manuscript would be turned down as had invariably been the case. But, to his amazement, his lengthy autobiographical novel 'O Lost', which was to become "Look Homeward, Angel" was accepted for publication. The only trouble was that it was overlong (5,000 pages) and had to be reduced. Although reluctant to see his poetic prose trimmed, Wolfe agreed and helped by Perkins, who had become a true friend, managed to cut 90,000 words from the book, with the result that it instantly became a favorite with the critics and bestseller. Success was even greater in 1935 when "Of Time end the River" appeared but Wolfe's inability to cope with the editing process got in the way of his relationship with his mistress (Nicole Kidman) and with Max, and Wolfe died in 1938 after writing 'You Can't Go Home Again', 'The Web and the Rock' and some short stories. Wolfe remained faithful to his appreciation for Max Perkins and died from tuberculosis of the brain a lonely man at age 38.

The supporting cast is superb – Laura Linney as Louis Perkins, Guy Pearce as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dominic West as Ernest Hemingway – and both Law and Firth carry the story well, maintaining a credible relationship in all its stages. Unfortunately the ending of the film is gushingly saccharine – not at all a good choice. But the movie is a tasty bit of acting and history and deserves to be seen.


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