Hemingway (1988) from Tuna

Hemingway (1988) was a mini-series produced by a French/US production team. This biopic is 300 minutes long, which I thought was 100 minutes more than necessary. It portrayed Hemingway as a boorish lush preoccupied with death, who couldn't keep it is his pants. 
Although there must be some truth to that, he was also larger than life, friends with some of the greatest authors of his time, won both a Pulitzer and a Nobel prize for The Old Man and the Sea, and every one of his books is still in print today, 40 years after his suicide. 


Marisa Berenson showed one breast as his second wife in a very grainy scene.
Hemingway, according to the film, was suffering from memory loss which made him unable to write, high blood pressure caused by his alcoholism, and clinical depression. He returned home from a lengthy hospital stay where they used electroshock therapy to cure the depression and ended his life. A last book, A Moveable Feast, was published posthumously. I suspect the film makers were attempting to paint the same kind of life story that Sandburg did in his biography of Lincoln, where you start the book because you think Lincoln was great, learn that he was nothing like you thought he was, but end up thinking that what he really was was even greater then you originally thought. The film didn't do that for me. Pappa Hemingway was noted for being irresistible to women, but a real man's man. The film made him out to be someone I would not have liked in real life.

DVD info from Amazon.

4:3 TV version

Scoop's note:

I haven't seen the movie, although I know it did well at the Golden Globes, so I can't comment about that, but in general, there is no relationship between achievement and likeability. If there is a relationship, it may be inverse.

The best illustration would be Beethoven, who had as much talent as anyone who ever lived, and whose music has sensitivity as well as grandeur. Yet he was neither sensitive nor grand, but a petty martinet who was just about universally despised. Even Satan now finds him unpleasant to deal with.

Hemingway had his moments of greatness, in life as well as on paper, but there aren't many people with fond, warm memories of him, including his kids and former lovers. He WAS a boorish, horny lush with various symptoms of mental illness, whose greatest thrills included challenging other drunks to boxing matches, and killing animals. 

He is also acknowledged as one of the literary giants of the 20th century.

So it goes.

The Critics Vote

  • none online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: not enough votes for a score
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C.

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