By Johna Autencio
13 years later, actors Colin Firth and Laura Linney (both starred in Love Actually) and Nicole Kidman and Jude Law (both starred in Cold Mountain) are reunited in a true story about the relationship between literary writer Thomas Wolfe and renowned editor Max Perkins, in Genius.
The film takes place in the late 1920s and begins with Firth, who plays Max Perkins, editing a novel for his publishing company, “Charles Scribner’s Sons Publishers and Booksellers.” Perkins was known to discover some of the literary world’s best authors, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and, of course, Thomas Wolfe.
One day, Perkins is approached by his colleague to read another manuscript as a favour from an up and coming writer named Thomas Wolfe, played by Law. He accepts his proposal, but little did he know that his life would be changed forever the moment he began reading his novel. Thinking he would get another rejection, Wolfe personally visits Perkins in his office, who tells him that he wants to publish his novel. From that moment, their working relationship and brotherly bond begins while editing Wolfe’s first published novel, “Look Homeward, Angel” and continues to do so for many years after.
Through all their success comes hardships. Now that Wolfe has become a well-known writer, he begins to write his next best-selling book, “Of Time and the River.” The editing process takes years, which takes a toll on their relationships. Perkins is distant from his wife, Louise, played by Linney, and their five daughters, while Wolfe and his former muse and partner, Aline Bernstein, played by Kidman, struggle to keep their turbulent and combative relationship alive.
The hour and 45-minute film is mainly a bromance movie during The Great Depression time period. But even with a strong Oscar-nominated/Oscar-winning cast, the film wasn’t as fascinating as it should’ve been. However, Law’s performance as the stubborn and hyper-analytical Wolfe may be one of his best performances in a while, considering how he’s been under the Hollywood radar as of late.
It’s odd to consider Law’s role as a supporting character while Firth’s Perkins is the leading actor, when it should be the other way around. Even though the film is devoted to telling Max Perkins’ life with Wolfe, he just didn’t seem to be the right star of the film because his character was much too uptight and reserved – the complete opposite of Wolfe. Perhaps, it comes down to who has an Oscar to be the leading actor on a film, since Firth won the Best Actor statue back in 2011, while Law hasn’t been nominated since 2004.
Regardless of that matter, those who are huge literary fans will enjoy another biographical film of another important figure in American history.
Genius will be released into Toronto and Vancouver theaters today, June 17, 2016 and to select markets on June 24th.