Toward the end of the Cannes Film Festival I begged an HBO publicist for a screener of Phillip Kaufman‘s Hemingway and Gellhorn (HBO, debuting tonight). “We’re all out,” she answered. I’ll see it within a couple of days, but N.Y. Times critic Mike Hale calls it “a disheartening misfire: a big, bland historical melodrama built on platitudes about honor and the writing life that crams in actual figures and incidents but does little to illuminate them, or to make us care about the romance at its center.
“As the famous novelist and sportsman whose best work was already behind him and the rising-star war correspondent, Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman repeatedly run through the same small set of ideas — animal attraction (lots of semipublic rutting), professional jealousy, inconstancy and disappointment — against a colorful series of backdrops. The wars change, but the clichés stay the same. A generally arch quality [seems] analogous to Mr. Kaufman’s stylized, seriocomic treatment of the Apollo astronauts in The Right Stuff