Literally <Genius> is a bromance and a stirring drama about the complex friendship and transformative professional relation between the world-renowned book editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth) who discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law). Finding fame and critical success at a young age, Wolfe is a blazing talent with a larger-than-life personality to match. Perkins is one of the most respected and well-known literary editors of all time, Wolfe and Perkins develop a tender, complex friendship. Transformative and irrepressible, this friendship will change the lives of these brilliant, but very different men forever.

Set in the 1930s Manhattan, the film transformed from black and white to sepia tones. The two men formed a bond that ran deep, collaborating on the first two of Wolfe’s four novels, “Look Homeward, Angel” and “Of Time and the River”. Their professional relationship lasted for less than a decade, but its impact would resound on both men’s lives until their deaths. Against Perkins’ protestations, Wolfe dedicated “Of Time and the River” to his editor.

One of the scenes that showed Perkins was exacting editorial brilliance while his daughter remarks on his manuscript when he was editing one of Wolfe’s difficult to edit novel “That’s a very long paragraph” and Perkins replied “It started four pages ago”. Beyond Wolfe’s genius that the message was brought to the audiences that fact that he was hard to rein in. Director by British theatre director Michael Grandage for his first feature film, a movie about book editing may not sound promising on the excitement scale and <Genuis> seeks to honor worthy subjects. The film filled with literary heavyweights but is light on insight yet never gets close enough to the titular quality to make watching worth the effort as it is not as smart and slick as it should be. Genius can’t live up to its title but just a little more than a lovely bore.

Review: 2/5
Opens Citywide: 4th Aug 2016

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