Genius full movie review - A deeply stirring tour de force
I read the review by the user who rated the film a 1 out of 10, offering a lengthy dissection of it for being inaccurate to the exact particulars of what happened in the real lives of these literary figures.
I feel sorry for this critic, as their obsession with insignificant historical details has robbed themselves - and perhaps some of the readers of her criticism - of the beautiful and moving poignance of the film.
First, this film is a deeply stirring portrayal of the period of time in the western world when the literary atmosphere especially, as well as to an extent that of the arts in general, was at its absolute zenith. Only the very best of the best, most poignant writers were to be published and well-read. At the level of the artists, this meant a culture of creative literati, who inspired one another to the utmost standards of brilliance. I can only imagine sitting and eating with the likes of a few these individuals all at the same table, in this time of unprecedented and never again to be seen creative brilliance, like in the dinner scene in the film. I really believe that many of the successful artists of the era knew very well that they were in the best of times, a time of passion in the arts, and it comes through in their writing. A poignancy and passion that they created and fed themselves.
And at the level of the public, in the reading, this was of great significance in the social consciousness and the talk amongst the educated. In that time, this was still a blossoming means of entertainment, which had been flourishing since the latter half of the 19th century and was not yet replaced by the film industry, nor watered down and devalued because of the affordability of polishing and printing resulting in simpletons being able to achieve popularity in writing, nor mired in society's now complete lack of taste and out of control proclivity for sin and degeneracy.
Indeed, this was an era where your rank and file citizen thought, cared, and discussed about things that the people of modernity today have forgotten to notice, because they are too busy with the obscenity of Nikki Minaj or the latest "New York times best selling" (joke) self help book - an obscenity of equal caliber.
For an insight into what this artistic atmosphere was like, I urge you to read "The Selected Letters of Anton Chekov, edited and with an introduction by Lillian Hellman. Read Hellman's intro as well. This was a gritty time where, like today, only the few and fortunate artists succeeded, but very much unlike today, were typically artists suffering in the worst abject poverty, who climbed to critical acclaim and accolades through their brilliance. Not so in today's atmosphere of film, where over 99% of successful actors had little or no innate talent, and had success handed to them, and then go on to talk about how they did it with hard work and positivity (joke).
No, people like Chekov and the figures in the film were not spoiled and spoon fed by mamma and then handed success by their famous and/or wealthy family members. On the contrary, they hacked out their survival in a sort of wilderness and found success because of their natural talent, and their efforts to refine it. Writing has been dead now for many decades and its modern equivalent is film. And very few actors now find their path to success that way. It is instead handed to most of them through having had good parenting, good social skills, and privileged upper class social opportunities.
Now second, this is a film that has nuance and is so touchingly poignant in itself. A near masterpiece. Some of he choices in the writing were so crucial. I could go on and on. The acting was an absolute tour de force for Law, Pearce, and Firth. Guy Pearce as Fitzgerald was my personal favorite performance. The casting director in their film was also brilliant. I wish I had had the opportunity to act like these three men myself, and with actors of such admirable mastery. It's only failing is that they cast Nicole Kidman, who over acts here with embarrassing melodrama and a theatrical style of acting, which is not appropriate in film at all, much less in this one. However, perhaps even that is appropriate and should not be criticized, because it is believable that the Wolfe character, presenting as a selfish, carnal- minded manic, would be romantically involved with the self centered narcissist Kidman portrays so well as a character here.
I have only ever considered 7 of the thousands of films I've seen to be a 10 - a masterpiece. I usually would rate this film "Genius" a 9. Only about 1 in 500 films is a 9 to me - an extraordinarily high rating. But because of how ridiculous it is that this brilliant film is getting negative criticism from people who have no sense of art or beauty at all, I'm was tempted to rate it a 10.