TV Highlights

What was on Thursday 30th April

Hemingway & Gellhorn

Sky Arts 1 - 9pm

Who's in it?

A bespectacled Clive Owen smirked and scowled his way through this feature-length drama as Ernest Hemingway, while Nicole Kidman was elegantly dishevelled as fellow writer Martha Gellhorn.

In a nutshell

The big talking, war reporting, rum-swigging man’s man: that’s the Hemingway of myth, and it would take a brave filmmaker to ignore that in favour of a subtle, more realistic portrait. Well, the filmmaker behind THIS telly drama was not about to do that. After all, that would mean depriving us of the cartoon melodrama of Mythical Hemingway, brought to barking life by Clive Owen who piled on the ham like the man at the supermarket butcher counter.

Looking more like a beefy Groucho Marx than the actual Hemingway, Owen swaggered around, spilling manly one-liners about war and blood and writing, while ogling the backside of Martha Gellhorn, played with Lauren Bacall-like poise by Nicole Kidman. They were a legendary literary couple, and boy did this film know it, having them make love during a bombing raid just to ram home how fiery and titanic their love/lust was. It was all very silly – for all the bomb-strewn setpieces, the real seriousness of war took second place to Owen and Kidman’s photogenic squabbles, and the bit where they superimposed her face onto footage from the Holocaust… the less said about that the better.

What's the verdict?

Unintentionally hilarious throughout, this was best enjoyed as a kind of bonkers, literary Mills & Boon romp. Bad, but in kind of a good way. And it had Lars Ulrich from Metallica as a film director in a beret. Why? Just because.

Check out Hemingway & Gellhorn now on Virgin TV Anywhere

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07-07-2011