Of the modernists, Ernest Hemingway was by far the most man-friendly: A robust outdoorsman with a spartan style, Hemingway personified his best characters and in fact eclipsed them in legend. And though, like them, he had a brooding dark streak that eventually led to his demise, the portrait of him that survives is one of iconic, manly vigor. Which basically sums up why Hemingway's Garden of Eden makes absolutely no sense.
Hey, have you ever wanted to reimagine the guy who wrote such taught, muscular classics as The Old Man and the Sea as an androgynous fop with a bleach-blonde club-cut? How about as a self-possessed dandy whose phlegmatic passivity leaves him at the whims of the more powerful women in his life?
No? Well, don't see Hemingway's Garden of Eden, then.
It's not that the movie doesn't look interesting, or even that the character of Hemingway here is a bad character, per se -- it's just that the character is so bafflingly inconsistent with the man he's named for. One gets the sense with this preview that the filmmakers here knew nothing about Hemingway except that he was a writer and intermittently lived on the beach, and so they wrote a character that was a writer who lived on the beach and slapped Hemingway's name on it. Why not Larry's Garden of Eden or something?
Maybe that just doesn't have the same ring to it.
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