Hemingway & Gellhorn

 (736)
6.32 h 34 min202018+
The powerful story of the war-torn romance between literary giant Ernest Hemingway and trailblazing war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Nicole Kidman, Clive Owen.
Directors
Philip Kaufman
Starring
Nicole KidmanClive OwenDavid Strathairn
Genres
DramaRomance
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
Rodrigo SantoroMolly ParkerParker PoseySantiago CabreraLars UlrichSaverio GuerraPeter CoyoteJoan ChenTony Shalhoub
Studio
HBO
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Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
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Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

736 global ratings

  1. 57% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 20% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 7% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 6% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Caryl WynterReviewed in the United States on February 23, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
no simple narrative, this is a great film
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Philip Kaufman's direction and Nicole Kidman's superb acting are standouts in making this a great film. I very much like the way Kaufman created the illusion of history taking place before our eyes, the embedding of Kidman and Owen into archival footage with the filming of Kidman in both vintage-sepia toned film and color film. It's a bit hard to describe here, but anyone interested in how it was done and the effect it created should see the HBO clip on YouTube called "Hemingway & Gellhorn: Visual Effects Piece." I've seen a number of films set in the time period, the latest that comes to mind is Pan's Labyrinth, but none have made me feel I was inside the frame struggling to understand the action and effects of war the way this film did. I'm very grateful that the storyline so closely follows the historic reality of their lives. That is so rarely done. Being true to history generally means the audience has to accept that there is no 3-act play here. We can't fit these people's lives into the neat narrative that pleases most critics. To do so would force this film to be less than it turned out to be. There's a 1940's film (Arise, My Love) with Claudette Colbert playing a character said to have been inspired by Martha Gellhorn. It has a special romantic charm, and it follows the usual arc of romantic movies. It is fine in its own right to remake films like that, to alter the narrative to follow an arc, but this is not the aim of Hemingway & Gellhorn. Like life, it's a lot messier.

I found Clive Owen excellent in the film. Some reviewers said he overacted or tried too hard, but that's actually who Hemingway was--a person who overdid, overplayed his own role in life. Really, what man in his late 30's wants to be known as "Papa" to his male friends? (The nickname was one he encouraged from the age of 26 or 27 according to first wife Hadley.) Hemingway created an image for himself that helped him define himself, but also stifled his ability to grow later in life. It probably didn't help that he was bipolar according to a diagnosis made in later years. Clive Owen captures the best and worst of Hemingway, no mean feat. He really deserves more credit that he got from critics. He was superb in the role.

Right now, A Farewell to Arms (the film made from Hemingway's second novel) is available to view in Prime. The movie is referred to in the film both in the dialog and through its movie poster on Hemingway's wall. Also on Prime right now is the documentary referred to, The Spanish Earth. I can't say I've seen either, but it seems this is my chance so I thought I'd pass it along.
27 people found this helpful
SagaciousReviewed in the United States on December 18, 2017
3.0 out of 5 stars
Kidman Shines (mostly)
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Nicole Kidman did a most admirable job portraying the young Gellhorn, although the older version who narrated the film was far too coarse and seemed to bear little relationship to her younger self, no matter how striking and convincing the Hollywood make-up artists were.. Converely, I thought this was one of Clive Owen's worst roles. He seriously overplayed his hand in trying to present the gruff, overly masculine and crass personality Hemingway may have been. He was almost wooden in his one-dimensional portrayal of Hemingway. The screenplay was not bad, but lagged frequently and had me checking on how much time there was left to the movie. The cinematography was the strongest aspect of the film interestingly and seamlessly fading in and out of period, grainy, even black and white photography and the latest HD quality film.
15 people found this helpful
JellycatReviewed in the United States on October 8, 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
A Farce
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What this movie does is try to portray a hyper romance of two brilliant people in a wartime background. What it accomplishes is to apparently be a very young and inexperienced person’s take on same. From a too cute meeting, to over exaggerations of Hemingway’s known “masculinity,” to failed attempts to touch on the actual poignance and horror of war - this movie has it all. Hemingway and Gellhorn are cartoon-like figures exchanging dialogue as genuine as a wooden nickel.

Not to take away from the leads’ acting skills. All that was there. But it couldn’t overcome a poor script.
5 people found this helpful
AnonymiceReviewed in the United States on July 15, 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
Like a TV Movie in Scope and Characterizations
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At the very least, the director, writers, and actors should have watched Reds before setting off to film this. Even a pretty boy actor, Warren Beatty, created an epic about epic periods in world history, the Spanish Civil War included. Kidman is acceptable, even good here (I am very impressed with the older version of herself), but cannot pull this film up from the ordinariness of itself. Owen has crafted Hemmingway out of every stereotype of a boorish American he can imagine, yet even missing that mark. His characterization has no relation to an early 20th century, hard drinking, egotistic, intensely alpha male. He comes across as a cute but dirty frat boy out on a lark, endeavoring to be merely charming, with none of the depth Hemmingway must have had. I also blame the director for this, as Owen is normally a fine actor who crafts his characters well. Kidman has had remarkably few flops in her career, so I can't be too hard on her, but this is one of them. Not sure what convinced her to do this movie, although I guess you don't really know until the contracts are signed and it's too late. She is not known for walking off sets. She also needs to learn to swig liquor from a bottle, something I doubt she has ever done.

The first not great thing I noticed about this movie is very strange. But it seems as if every actor, Kidman included, is self-conscious about hitting and being on their mark. It is squarely on the director that such a thing could even be detectable, and I can't remember ever noticing it on any other film this clearly. Everyone just looks like a deer in the headlights, afraid to move. I only watched 30+ minutes, but doubt it gets better; I gave it 15min too long. I had already wasted 2hrs of my life on a film today, so not about to repeat that.
One person found this helpful
Pete AndrewsReviewed in the United States on November 17, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Strong Women, Here's Your New Favorite Movie!
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These four stars go entirely to Nicole Kidman as Martha Gellhorn. Clive Owen is his usual, reliable self, but Hemingway is an outsize character and Owen is just not up to the role. Admittedly, few would be. Kidman on the other hand, does an outstanding job as the often overlooked female war correspondent Gellhorn, covering the Spanish Civil War and forging a passionate relationship with Hemingway. Oh, there's the usual bare skin that seems to come with a Kidman lead or co-lead, but she's so much more than that in this role. Because of the rocky and wild nature of Papa's first and third marriages, Gellhorn is often overlooked, but she was with him in his prime and she brought out the best in him. More correctly, they brought out the best in one another. Catch this on a rainy afternoon with someone you love and a bottle of good Spanish wine.
4 people found this helpful
Jim BolesReviewed in the United States on May 12, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Historical maybe but not entertaining
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This is a well done production across the board. The exception is the script. It was forced or contrived trying to create a balance between literature and a screenplay. If it is historically accurate regarding the characters that's fine, but I didn't like either character which made it hard to watch. They were both egomaniacs as they were portrayed, and it got boring watching them trying to outdo each other. Both were obsessed with power both in their work and their relationship. It just didn't make an interesting story. That said, if you like an art-house film of the era, then you may enjoy the film.
One person found this helpful
Dr HornReviewed in the United States on July 27, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
One of Nicole Kidman's best performances. Raw footage of war torn countries
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One of Nicole Kidman's best performances.Raw footage of war torn countries, up and down emotional swings with eroticism over the top. I probably should give it 5 stars because Clive Owen does give a great performance but I just didn't visualize him as Ernest Hemingway. Clive plays the role superbly portraying a massive ego, stubborn rigidity, and insensitive to knowing how to maintain a relationship. Also, the writing is excellent along with jumping from back and white film, old historical reels, to color. Nicole just out acts everyone. Emerging as a war correspondent evolves in a creative and complicated way unseen in most movies. A must watch if you can endure actual war footage that can bring pain to your heart and amazing acting of the complicated and intense relationship of Hemingway & Gellhorn...
10 people found this helpful
Green Mountain MamaReviewed in the United States on June 7, 2017
1.0 out of 5 stars
Unfortunately, unwatchable. I don't blame either of the ...
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Unfortunately, unwatchable. I don't blame either of the lead actors, but they're both really over-the-top. Hemingway and Gellhorn are portrayed as caricatures- I doubt the script writer or director had any idea of them as real multidimensional human beings. What was probably most off-putting to me was the way Nicole Kidman stared at everyone, all her character seemed to do is pivot around so her wide legged pants swished and staaaaaaaare. I didn't finish it.
2 people found this helpful
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