Berlinale is known for inviting one or two Hollywood pictures to the festival every year to add glamour to the sprawling selection of mostly arthouse curios. One of those films in this year’s edition was Michael Grandage’s first feature as a director, Genius. A period piece based on a true story, the film came to the festival with high expectations, given the distribution deal with Lionsgate already in place, and the pedigree of everyone involved, including thrice Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan, and Oscar winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman in the cast. But this was all before the film was screened and faced walkouts and unintentional laughs.
Maxwell Perkins (Firth) was the editor and invisible hand behind some of the biggest American masterpieces of literature in the 1920s, including novels by Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pierece). Perkins is a family man, living in an expansive estate with his wife Louise (Laura Linney) and five daughters. As one would expect of the editor responsible for taming wild characters such as Hemingway and, eventually, Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), Perkins is a gentleman of the highest order, calm and gentle, but serious all the same. [More...]