Genius – Sky Cinema Premiere

Colin Firth and Jude Law play American literary icons, book editor Maxwell Perkins and novelist Thomas Wolfe, in this absorbing biopic

Colin Firth and Jude Law play American literary icons, book editor Maxwell Perkins and novelist Thomas Wolfe, in this absorbing biopic.

Get past Firth’s scratchy New England tones and Law’s exaggerated North Carolina drawl and this tale of how Perkins steered Wolfe’s unwieldy manuscripts (‘great rolling mountains of prose’) into print in the 1920s and 1930s proves surprisingly entertaining.

Law’s portrayal of the boozy, bombastic Wolfe teeters on the brink of parody, but with lines such as, ‘Too loud, too grandiose, not quite real, that’s who I am,’ his go-for-broke abandon makes the characterisation work.

In his feature film debut, acclaimed British theatre director Michael Grandage gets colourful support from Nicole Kidman as costume and set designer Aline Bernstein, Wolfe’s older lover, and from Guy Pearce and Dominic West as F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway (two of Perkins’ earlier discoveries).

But it is the chalk-and-cheese relationship between Firth’s buttoned-up, dusty Perkins and Law’s unrestrained Wolfe that makes the movie work.