Sometimes, all an aspiring novelist needs to succeed is an editor who believes in them and is willing to work with them to see that dream of becoming a published novelist become reality.
Maxwell Perkins was one of those dream editors that every writer dreams of. The 2016 film, Genius, stars Colin Firth as Perkins and Jude Law as Thomas Wolfe.
In New York in the late 1920’s, Maxwell Perkins is a book editor who discovered both F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. His newest writer is Thomas Wolfe. Wolfe is a promising writer, but his writing is in desperate need of pairing down. Their friendship develops as Wolfe’s work is published and he becomes a successful writer.
Then the problems begin. Both Perkins and Wolfe begin to spend more time with each other than their respective spouses, Louise Perkins (Laura Linney) and Aline Bernstein (Nicole Kidman). As great a writer as Wolfe is, his explosive energy begins to overwhelm and erode his personal and professional relationship with Maxwell.
As a writer, I very much appreciate this movie. Killing your darlings (i.e. editing) is often a painful, but necessary part of the writing process. But in the end, if the writer is lucky enough to be successful, the blood, sweat and tears that it takes to write a novel is worth it.
I recommend it.
Genius is presently on DVD.