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9/10
A Movie-able Feast
7 December 2013
More than s biography yet more than a documentary, this film, in stills and motion, dramatizes the meeting and more than twenty-year friendship of two of the masters of their respective art. Gary Cooper, the preeminently earnest actor, and Ernest Hemingway, the much-imitated realistic writer, are joined in this story of a nearly forgotten America.

Unlike similar biopics this film succeeds in drawing its audience into the life and affairs—not merely sexual—of these men's triumphs, disappointments, fears, and foibles, in a way that is difficult to disengage from. Where others take a didactic, professorial stance "Tru Gen"—the subtitle taken from Hemingway's distinction of "truth from rumor", "the real from the phony"—gives us opportunity to drink from the top-shelf of two top-shelf lives.

It feels superfluous to speak of the films production values. (The narration of Sam Waterston, cinematography, sound, and the rest, are superb.) They match the storytelling as they do the two lives presented. The pacing is goldilocks-perfect, facilitating comprehension of the films many details while preserving the warmth and resonance of each episode and scene.

The sweep of the film in reportage of conduct/behavior and relation of feelings is at times staggering. We do hear from the professors and critics but they are subordinate to the close friends, professional associates, and yes, lovers.

Imagine any of the literary, painting, and film characters of "Midnight in Paris" (Woody Allen, 2010), drawn at length in intimate portraiture, and you have a glimpse of what "The Tru Gen" offers. We are treated to a full-length expose: a feast for the uninformed and the connoisseur. On third viewing the film is as fresh as the first. One cannot guzzle. You must sip and savor.
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