In a 4.1 article, New York critic David Edelstein has written that “it was wrong to finger [Harvey] Weinstein for pulling [the late Anthony] Minghella‘s strings” in a 3.25 blog piece.
Here’s how Edelstein synopsizes the original thing: “I said that Minghella, who died suddenly following surgery, never lived up to the potential of his first feature, Truly, Madly, Deeply, and I suggested that his career trajectory had a lot to do with Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein pushing him in the direction of tony Oscar-bait material following the slew of Academy Awards for The English Patient.”
“Yes, it’s a minority view that those films were artistically compromised. But even allowing for their considerable merits (and my reviews of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain were largely positive), it’s a pity that unlike, say, Neil Jordan, Steven Soderbergh, or Stephen Frears, Minghella didn’t also make smaller and more personal projects that were as adventurous, as sui generis as Truly, Madly, Deeply.”
Edelstein says that I wrote in this column (on 3.26) that Minghella, whom I knew slightly from having interviewed him once and run into him at a couple of parties, “liked living well and making high-profile pictures.” Well, not quite. I qualified and mushed up my statement a bit more than that.
“My sense of Minghella,” I wrote, “is that on some level he was at least half-comfortable with not being the most prolific filmmaker of all time.” That also means, obviously, that Minghella may have been half-uncomfortable with not having made more films. And when you say you have a “sense” of a man you’re saying it’s obviously from a certain distance. Otherwise you would say, simply, that you knew him.
I also said “he was a beautiful man in many respects, but I think he liked to live well.” That’s plain enough, and not that controversial — every person with money develops a strong affection for the lush life that comes with it. I also said that Minghella “loved the aromas and textures and ecstasies of day-to-day living as much as (and perhaps a tiny bit more than) the rigors and tortures of creation.” All in all, I think that was fair observation. Writing is a bitch. Directing too. Life is hard.