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Genius (2016)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 10 June 2016 (USA)
1:56 | Trailer
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.


Michael Grandage


John Logan (screenplay by), A. Scott Berg (based on the book 'Max Perkins: Editor of Genius' by)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »





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 ... Julia Wolfe
Angela Sant'Albano ... Bertha Perkins (as Angela Ashton)
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


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


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


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


In real life, Aline Bernstein was 20 years older than Thomas Wolfe. The age difference of the actors who portray them (Jude Law and Nicole Kidman) is only 5 and a half years. See more »


The letter in the film from Wolfe to Perkins is somewhat different than the actual letter, ie..."Fourth of July" changed to "November." See more »


[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.
See more »


Referenced in The Good Place: What We Owe to Each Other (2016) See more »


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

Great Story
15 September 2016 | by brutzelSee all my reviews

The is based upon a true story. In 1929 Scribner Bookseller Publisher Editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth) agrees to publish a novel by Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law). It was said that other publishers rejected Wolfe's novels due to their being overly long, but this did not deter Perkins who was captivated by Wolfe's autobiographical poetic prose. Look Homeward Angel was the result of that collaboration wherein we saw Perkins cut much of the work. Later in their lives when their relationship was somewhat strained Perkins remarks if editors make the work better or different. This story revolves around Wolfe, but we know the Genius in here is Perkins.

Of course, we all know that Colin Firth used to be King of England. (You like saying that, right?) Yes, the King's Speech was one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Back to Genius. Again with "true stories" we are not really sure how much of what we see is actually true and we have to almost accept everything, but when One goes to other reviewers as this One did, this time, we see that not all in the movie was actually true; and in some instances Wikipedia supports some of this. It will be up to you to decide what you want to believe. I could provide examples but that would lessen your interest in doing your research. See?

Colin Firth and Jude Law have, perhaps, given one of their best performances ever. (Well, except for Firth in The King's Speech you would agree, I am sure) We see Law's Wolfe as somewhat out of control at times, too exuberant, too over-confident, too uncaring about people especially his lover, Mrs Aline Bernstein (Nicole Kidman) when he refused to attend an opening night play of hers. At the same time - it seemed - that Perkins wouldn't go on a family vacation because he and Wolfe had work to do. Their obsession with the work of editing Wolf's novel was the only driving force in their lives.

I did not recognize Nicole Kidman as Mrs Bernstein and kept wondering who that was. But the credits said it was Nicole Kidman so there you are. Maybe she should wear her hair longer and keep it black as she was absolutely stunning and beautiful in this movie. Who knew? And the role she played could be considered Oscar Worthy along with Colin Firth and Jude Law. Kudos to all.

We see that both Perkins and Wolfe knew Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pierce) and those scenes were pure gold. Perkins was the editor for both Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

We kept wondering when Perkins would finally remove his hat which he wore in every scene except the last one.

We don't often get to see anything of the great writers/authors and the people who help them. This is a good first start and this was a great story. (9/10)

Violence: No. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: No.

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Release Date:

10 June 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Genius See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$98,274, 12 June 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color | Black and White (opening sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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