155 Min. | Biography – Drama – Romance | May 2012
IMDB Rating: 6.3
Director: Philip Kaufman
Staring: Nicole Kidman, Clive Owen, David Strathairn
Hemingway And Gellhorn Review: Nicole Kidman is Marth Gellhorn, correspondent and third wife of Ernest Hemingway. She narrates the story while looking directly into the camera. To put it in brief, Gellhorn is a beautiful young, ambitious Collier’s correspondent who runs into the married Hemingway in a Key West saloon. He puts the moves on her, calls her “Elegance,” and she responds to this manly man with the hairy chest and all that charm. That’s the first half of Hemingway And Gellhorn. Hemingway commits adultery out of sheer self indulgence, divorces his rigidly Catholic wife and insists on marrying Gellhorn who – she tells us – “abhors marriage.” In the second half of Hemingway And Gellhorn, we begin what almost amounts to an entirely different Lifetime Movie Network film. Hemingway not as forceful love but as male chauvinist pig.
In, he feels she’s competing with him, perhaps outdoing him. He belittles her, calling her “Little Miss Human Interest.” He gets drunk in her absence, belts her around when she returns. He takes up with Mary Welsh and abuses her until she demands a divorce, which he is loathe to give her because he feels her owns her. “I made you!”, he shouts through her locked door. To cap it off, Gellhorn winds up being interviewed by a smug David Frost type who asks her to discuss “your debt to Hemingway.” It’s like watching a full reel of cliches spin out, one after another. Historical accuracy is almost a minor problem. We hear and see everything from the point of view of Martha Gellhorn. We hear private conversations between the couple for which there is no evidence other than what we hear in the script. Ernest Hemingway tells Martha that he was impotent with his wife from day one?
Hemingway And Gellhorn is a cheap piece of melodrama and Harlequin Romance. Gellhorn was wife number three and, like all four of Hemingway’s wives, managed to insinuate herself into his good graces (let’s say) and land a celebrity husband. They all did it the same way. If, say, there was a party, the wife-to-be was able to seat herself between Hemingway and his wife of the moment – and Hemingway was too dumb or self-absorbed to see what was going on. His first wife was Hadley, and he remained closest to her for the rest of his life. Gellhorn was just squeezed in somewhere along the line. Hemingway And Gellhorn isn’t the story of a love affair between Hemingway and Gellhorn and its subsequent dissolution. Hemingway And Gellhorn is the story of heroine Martha Gellhorn, talented, independent, strong, seduced, loving, adoring, abused, and humiliated. “I will not be a footnote to someone else’s life,” she says. Sadly, narcissistic ass though he was, it was Hemingway who wrote the novels and stories that won the Nobel Prize, not Gellhorn.