top of page
  • Writer's pictureLilium

Genius - Picture Palace

Genius is a 2016 British-American biographical drama film directed by Michael Grandage and written by John Logan, based on the 1978 National Book Award-winner Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg. The film stars Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Laura Linney.

The film begins in New York, 1929. Maxwell Perkins, a successful Scribner's editor and discoverer of talented authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, reads the drafts of O Lost, a novel by Thomas Wolfe. Struck by the content, Perkins decides to publish it and begins to collaborate with the author.

Now the film critics found this movie not to their taste but guessing from the language they used to describe it, anything even close to subtly seems to go clean over their heads. They completely missed the depth of the friendship and couldn't even seem to grasp the time period. I believe that Genius is a film for writers and creatives. I am always drawn to films about writers, watching the creative process, the challenge of having to carve up the most beautiful prose because it is unreasonable for a single book to be 5,000 pages long. Every moment held my attention intensely.

In the scene below, Maxwell reads out a page of the first unedited version of Thomas Wolfe's "Of Time and the River" which tells of the moment when the character in Wolfe's book falls in love for the first time.


Now I could go on all day about this moment or that but I think hearing from the creators of a film always tells it best. Below is The Genesis of Genius, a Film About Friendship, Books and Creativity, part 1. It covers how the creators of the film took on the task of painting a portrait of The Lost Generation and why the actors were drawn to their roles.


Reading Recommendations & Content Considerations

A. Scott Berg


bottom of page