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Hemingway & Gellhorn [Blu-ray]

Nicole Kidman , Clive Owen , Philip Kaufman    Blu-ray
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Starring two of today’s most acclaimed actors, and directed by Oscar nominee Philip Kaufman (in his first film for television), Hemingway & Gellhorn tells the story of the passionate love affair and tumultuous marriage between Martha Gellhorn (Kidman) and Ernest Hemingway (Owen), following the adventurous writers through all the great conflicts of their time – from the Spanish Civil War and beyond. Considered by many to be the greatest of all war correspondents – man or woman – Gellhorn’s drive and success catapulted her beyond the confines of her marriage into a revered and respected career independent of Hemingway’s. Epic in scale, with masterfully woven archival footage, Hemingway & Gellhorn offers a unique glimpse at a powerful relationship born and torn by war.

Product Description

Kidman/Owen ~ Hemingway & Gellhorn

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Love and war Feb. 23 2014
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
"Hemingway and Gellhorn" should have been amazing. It's produced by HBO, based upon Ernest Hemingway's relationship with his third wife Martha Gellhorn. It has a very talented cast including Nicole Kidman, Clive Owens, Parker Posey, Rodrigo Santoro and Tony Shalhoub.

All the ingredients are there. And yet... it fall completely flat. Instead of a passionate story of two intelligent, adventurous writers whose lives briefly intersected in marriage, we get a flabby tale of a two obnoxious rich Americans who dabbled in important wars when they weren't warring with each other.

Martha Gellhorn (Kidman) first encountered Ernest Hemingway (Owens) at a bar in 1936, where he was showing off a dead marlin he had caught -- and after trading poorly-written quips, she is invited to his home where he hangs out with various friends. She is inspired to go to Spain to cover the civil war that is happening, and it turns out that Heminway is also going there, helping his friends shoot a documentary about the war.

During their time in Spain, they quickly embark on an affair, despite Hemingway being married to his second wife Pauline (Molly Parker). After he divorced Pauline, they later married and embarked on a new life together, traveling and changing the world with their writing -- his novels and her war correspondence. But their relationship was not destined to last.

It's hard to put your finger on exactly why "Hemingway and Gellhorn" doesn't work as a movie. But one important factor is that the true story of Gellhorn and Hemingway has been "Hollywoodized" -- the story has been stripped down, squashed into a mold, and dropped in a misshapen, bland form into our laps.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A slow starter Jan. 27 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Given the lead actors here, you'd think you were up for a dashing tale. Instead, unfortunately, the film is a slow-moving, passionless journey. Clive Owens and Nicole Kidman never seemed to connect on anything but a clumsy physical level and though I could spend every day all day watching movies, this one was too long. The film is gorgeous to look at; great care too was taken with the historical aspect. Spectacular attempt, mediocre result.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Love April 17 2014
Format:DVD
One of the best HBO Films I have seen. Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman are sizzling in this one. The film has terrific dialogue, convincing characters, special effects and cinematography is absolutely amazing. Supporting cast is equally terrific. The only problem I had with this film is that I did not want it to end. Hemingway and Gellhorn fascinating and passionate human beings who lived and loved with courage and conviction. Not to be missed!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  111 reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars for HBO biopic with a sizzling Nicole Kidman June 28 2012
By M. Oleson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
This HBO film is more about the career and life of Martha Gellhorn who became Ernest Hemingway's third wife. Don't get me wrong, Clive Owen's Hemingway gets equal screen time with beautiful Nicole Kidman's Gellhorn but as she puts it at the end of the movie, she won't be a footnote in someone else's life.

With a close up of Kidman as a now 70-something subject of an interview, the opening scene gives the viewer an idea of the quality that would persist throughout the next 2  hours. I'm reminded of Kidman's ability to become unrecognizable in "The Hours" from 2002. Here as well, as she not only uses a masterful makeup job but the deeper voice and cadence of an older more experienced woman. Marty Gellhorn was a reporter for "Collier's" magazine, a weekly that competed with "Life" and "Look" in days past. After meeting Hemingway in a sweaty bar in Key West, she becomes interested in a civil war in Spain which would eventually lead up to WW II.

While Hemingway goes there as well, he goes in luxury as the famed writer that he was. Gellhorn, hitches rides where she can, including inside an army tank. Directed by Phillip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff"), the film mixes in scenes in beautiful living color along with regular changes that drift throughout the artist pallet. This includes grainy black and white to match real news footage of the late 1930's. That trick was a little off-putting at first but becomes very effective as the film progresses.

While I'm a big fan of Clive Owen, I wasn't taken with him as Hemingway. While it seems clear, Hemingway was loud and boisterous and loved women, booze and a good time, Owen just seemed over the top at times. Kidman was perfect. From the aging newswoman to the long-legged blond in tight pants, she gets your attention. The movie is longer than it needs to be, but is none-the-less and effective portrayal of Ernest Hemingway and the lesser known Martha Gellhorn.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big, Bold, And Messy: This Divisive HBO Biopic Veers All Over The Place Tonally, Yet Is Still Strangely Appealing June 2 2012
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
There were pretty lofty expectations going into HBO's prestige piece "Hemingway & Gellhorn." With the tempestuous relationship between the writers and the scope of history that they survived, this seemed like a can't miss proposition. Oscar nominated director Philip Kaufman assembled a top tier cast including Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen and set his film on an immense international canvas. And yet, rarely has a production so divided mainstream critics as well as viewers. If you look at the critical consensus, the ratings start at absolute raves (Entertainment Weekly) to excoriating pans (New York Times) and everywhere in between. While HBO films is used to being a leader in TV films, this is indeed a project that has divided its audience with both fervent supporters and equally vocal opponents. Truthfully, I can understand both viewpoints. The film is overlong, comes to a strangely rushed ending, underutilizes a strong supporting cast, and is visually devised in an almost surreal sepia-toned Forrest Gump-like blend of actors into actual historical footage. It's big, bold, and messy in a very in-your-face way, just like the central pair. And I found it both strangely off-putting and strangely appealing!

Hemingway, of course, is always a larger-than-life figure. The film is told in a series of flashbacks as an elderly Gellhorn (Kidman) recounts her life with the great man. Their primary story begins in Key West in 1936 and wraps up with Hemingway's suicide in 1961. In between, though, is the meat of the relationship as the couple fall in love in war torn Spain, vacation in politically volatile China, separate for different assignments, and eventually attempt to cohabitate in domestic bliss. Gellhorn, a war correspondent (and inspiration for Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls), ends up being the real centerpoint of the story. Whereas there have been many portraits of Hemingway, and this offered little in the way of new information, I did understand the influence and impact that Gellhorn had on the man. This was not a story that I was overly familiar with, so it certainly held my interest. Owen is suitably blustery, appealing but never going very deep. Kidman (while I know some found her miscast) actually does quite well in my estimation. The supporting cast includes Molly Parker, a wasted Robert Duvall, Tony Shalhoub, Parker Posey, David Strathairn (always relaible), Connie Nielson, Joan Chen, and a barely seen Peter Coyote among a plethora of familiar faces.

The story of Hemingway and Gellhorn is certainly a fascinating one. Where Kaufman's piece suffers is in an inconsistent tone. Playing at times as comedy, sometimes as romance, sometimes as domestic drama, sometimes as adventure--I never knew exactly what I supposed to take seriously. Some of the shots that put our actors into real footage elicited actual giggles from me, and I'm sure that was not their intent. Some of the battle sequences were done for amusement, some for horror. It was weird in many ways, at least tonally and stylistically. But Kaufman never plays it safe, creating this bold and outlandish vision. In the end, it never really works--but it is always strangely fascinating. What the story misses most is its heart. When the couple have a moment or two to really connect believably, the film lights up briefly. So much time is spent in visual trickery, I couldn't help but yearn for more simplicity, more traditional storytelling. Yet, I never disliked "Hemingway & Gellhorn." It may not be fully successful, but it's strikingly different. About 3 1/2 stars. KGHarris, 6/12.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Adventure Film, Unique Film Technique May 31 2012
By danielsden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Folks are being too hard on this film. First Kidman is sexy and magnificent as Gellhorn, especially when appearing as the aging writer with some wonderful reflective acting. Clive is very good, using his muscular stature and larger than life "braggadocio" style to project an especially beastial and boistorous Hemingway character, but I think also with a sensitive and human perspective.

The opening bloody scene with the Marlin is extremely evocative in summarizing Hemingway's philosophical view that brutality is, in a sense, at the center of life and that "all things must die".It clearly underlines the "existential" perspective that pervades Hemingway's writing, and his own violent and self-abusive struggle with life. However, what I found most remarkable is the semi-documentary style of the movie, with the grainy original footage, sometimes including digitized insets of Kidman and Clive. The gorgeous sets, the great supporting actors, the good, if not great, acting by the key characters, and a fabulous story of adventure and humanitarian horror, all project an engaging and eventful film well worth watching. I think it is a far better film than the academy award winning "Reds" by Warren Beatty (1981), similar in general plot and character. Overall, a very thought provoking and powerful experience.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'For red blooded men and women of substance" June 10 2012
By R. M. Moss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is a man's film! This is a woman's film.
There are two sides to every story and the truth lies in the middle!
This is a delicious trip for every man who has adored a woman he couldn't control. This is a vivid recollection for every woman who has given her heart to a self-centered,bastard who stole her heart.
The dialogue is great,the simpatico between the two leads will have you grinning as you recall that great "love of your life"!Long after the film has ended and the spanish guitar resonates in your soul, you will remember that special someone who lit up your life and your sheets and, for some, feel once again the nostalgia and choking remorse for never having been able to make it click!
I can't say enough good things about this film. In my book, it's a keeper. ps. I'm on the list. ENJOY!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars When ambition conflicts with romance April 8 2013
By The Movie Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
"Hemingway & Gellhorn" recounts the love affair and tumultuous marriage of writer Ernest Hemingway (Clive Owen) and trailblazing war correspondent Martha Gellhorn (Nicole Kidman) as it follows the adventurous writers through the Spanish Civil War and beyond. The combined magnetism of Hemingway and Gellhorn ushered them into social circles that included the elite of Hollywood, the aristocracy of the literary world, and the First Family of the United States. As witnesses to history, they covered all the great conflicts of their time.

The first-rate performance by Kidman can't save the movie from its soap-opera script as Martha increasingly endures the jealousies of her husband. Owen's portrayal is unfortunately inconsistent. In some scenes, he is seductive, in others kind of silly. Perhaps this is director Philip Kaufman's way of humanizing Hemingway, but we never get a solid handle on who, really, this literary giant was in real life. The film's first half, which takes place during the Spanish Civil War, is strong, with outstanding production design despite the fact that the entire picture was filmed in Northern California.

Blu-ray bonus extras include a making-of featurette and a featurette on the special effects.
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