Genius, is the story of a man described as “the most famous literary editor” and his most challenging author. Max Perkins (played by Colin Firth) edited and oversaw the publication of great works by authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway and others. None of the greats seemed to challenge, infuriate or enamor Perkins more than Thomas Wolf (played by Jude Law). In an industry plagued by alcoholism, working with a “difficult” author was nothing new for Perkins, until Tom Wolfe shows up and changes his world – at first in a positive way. Then, Wolfe’s drinking increases, boundaries are crossed, his ego becomes inflated and their relationship runs off the rails.
I must say, before this movie I had absolutely no impression of Jude Law as an actor one way or another. Here, he gives an outstanding performance as Thomas Wolfe. Here, he leaves an impression as a seasoned actor who devoured this role. His character is set up to carry the movie and Jude pulls it off beautifully. The character was full of vibrancy and charm and he brought those qualities and more to life on the screen. Law’s Wolfe was impetuous, eloquent, unpredictable and electric. Also deserving mention is Nicole Kidman, as Wolfe’s unstable (relationship status-wise and mentally) love interest. Although the role was not necessarily “large,” it was important, and it was some of the best work from Kidman in years. Colin Firth as Perkins is quite good, with his even, cool demeanor. Perkins would have to have been a man with much patience to work with such egos for very long.
This review is short and sweet. Genius is an interesting story with solid performances that is well written, directed and acted, with lovely costumes and set design. I give Jude Law’s performance 9.5 bloops and the movie, overall, 8 bloops. It is an entertaining movie that should be seen. Not necessarily in the theater, but if you do decide to pay to see it and it sounds like a story that might interest you, you will get your money’s worth and you will not be disappointed.