|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:
|Approx. 104 min.
New York in the 1920s: The editor Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth) is known for his good sense when it comes to new talent. Often he has prevailed against all odds when he believed in a writer, thus making authors like Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald accessible to a wide readership. Also, when young Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) shows up in his office one day with his manuscript, Perkins quickly realizes he has a genius on his hands. He takes the eccentric under contract and works with him on his first novel, which then also immediately becomes a complete success. Already the long and grueling work on this book was an enormous burden for Wolfe's lover Aline (Nicole Kidman), as well as for Perkins` wife Louise (Laura Linney). But as the writer submits the next manuscript to his editor, it becomes clear that not only the relationship with the women in their lives, but also their friendship, will be sorely tested over the next few months - especially as Wolfe also develops a self-destructive paranoia that even Perkins can`t contain as his success grows.
Genius - The Thousand Pages of a Friendship is based on the true story of celebrated editor Maxwell Perkins. Unlike the writers he immortalized through his unerring instincts and enormous dedication, the name Max Perkins has been forgotten even by many literary connoisseurs. Screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, Skyfall) set out to change that by adapting A. Scott Berg's award-winning biography of the editor for the big screen. The acclaimed theater director Michael Grandage could be won for the direction, who then also realized in his cinema debut especially the intense dialogue scenes between Perkins and Wolfe stirring. And also with the cast could be signed with actors such as Oscar winner Colin Firth and Jude Law also a top-class ensemble.
With this the best conditions for a gripping drama are actually given. For the most part, that's what's on offer here. Especially the scenes in which Perkins tries to persuade Wolfe to shorten his manuscript of many thousands of pages and the two men argue for a long time about the smallest phrases are not only rousing, but also extremely entertaining staged. It becomes clear how hard the editor has tried to bring books to market that will be accepted by critics and readers alike, without sacrificing the genius of his authors. Through his work, he has made his clients' books what they are today: Classics of literary history. The film does a good job of portraying how enormously important his part in this was.
However, the production also struggles with a problem: some scenes are literally too theatrically realized and seem a bit like they were designed to be used as clips at upcoming award shows. Especially the performances of Jude Law and Nicole Kidman are noticeable that they seem to be aimed at one of the coveted movie awards, which makes them lose a lot of naturalness and also credibility. This is not to say that they play badly. Rather, it's that it's their roles that most clearly show that they're just acting, while Colin Firth does a better job of melding with his role and thus developing a believable character.
Aside from a few lengths and a few clichés, there is hardly anything wrong with the dramaturgical realization of the film. If you are a little bit interested in American literary history and want to take a look at the creation of great classics from the point of view of an editor, this atmospheric drama can be recommended. Worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp