Animation Adventures

Uncovering Literary Greatness: A Look Inside Genius

Genius: A Movie about Literary Greatness

Genius is a 2016 film directed by Michael Grandage, based on a true story of two literary geniuses, Max Perkins and Thomas Wolfe. It explores the brilliance of two writers and their friendship as well as their struggles to create masterpieces that defined American literature.Max Perkins, portrayed by Colin Firth, was a famous editor who discovered writers such as Ernest Hemingway and F.

Scott Fitzgerald. When Thomas Wolfe came to him with a manuscript under his arm, nobody thought much of it.

But Perkins saw something special in that manuscript, and he took a chance on Wolfe. This movie depicts the evolution of their working relationship and the emotional struggle they faced while trying to create pieces of art that could withstand the test of time.

Wolfes Struggle for Fame

From a small town in North Carolina, Thomas Wolfe had big dreams of becoming a famous writer. His writing was grandiose, ambitious, and almost unreadable.

But he possessed a passion for raw storytelling, and with Perkins guidance, he was able to harness it into something that resonates with the readers to this day. As for Perkins, his struggle was not necessarily in the art of writing the actual works of literature, but rather in balancing his family and work.

He was a busy editor who had to spend long hours at the office, editing, proofreading, and dealing with authors demands, all while being a great father and husband.

The Friendship Between Wolfe and Perkins

Throughout the movie, we witness the extraordinary friendship that developed between these two gentlemen. It was a unique relationship, built on a shared passion for literature and exchanging ideas on how to improve Wolfes writing.

Their friendship was the driving force behind their work, and their growth as writers went hand in hand. Their friendship also came with challenges.

Wolfe was very temperamental and had a massive ego, making it challenging to work with him at times. Perkins had to keep up with Wolfe’s demands and emotional outbursts, which at times felt unbearable.


In summary, Genius is a thrilling movie about the tremendous effort it takes to create literary masterpieces. The characters in the film are incredibly complex and relatable, with their struggles and aspirations.

The movie is a must-watch for people who appreciate literature, friendship, and great storytelling. Watch Genius on your next movie night, and you wont be disappointed.

Genius: A Movie about Literary Greatness

Genius is a 2016 film directed by Michael Grandage, based on a true story of two literary geniuses, Max Perkins and Thomas Wolfe. It explores the brilliance of two writers and their friendship as well as their struggles to create masterpieces that defined American literature.

Max Perkins, one of the most prominent literary editors, was offered an astronomical sum by Scribners publishing house to take on any project he wished. Following his instinct, Perkins reads Thomas Wolfes manuscript O Lost, a 1,100-page doorstopper.

Though intimidated by the sheer size of the project, Perkins recognizes the brilliance and potential and immediately decides to represent him. Its worth mentioning that many others took a look at the manuscript and dismissed it, but Perkins saw the genius in Wolfe’s writing and understood the audience that it could reach.

Perkins is drawn to Wolfe’s unique style and immediately agrees to edit the manuscript though later compromises with Wolfe to shorten it to a more acceptable number of pages to be published as “Look Homeward, Angel.” As Wolfe and Perkins work tirelessly, they develop an intimate relationship which transcends the editor-author working relationship. Perkins’ role in Wolfe’s writing is irreplaceable, together they develop Wolfes signature style, which relies heavily on unfiltered writing from the heart, no matter how lengthy the prose would be.

Wolfe’s writing was different from the post-World War II trends of Hemingway and Fitzgerald and challenged literary norms that that had reigned supreme for years. Through Perkins guidance, they brought something new to American literature.

It wasn’t just that they were different, but also that they were themselves, with Wolfe’s raw, unfiltered writing style helped him establish a unique identity.

As this movie progresses, we see the challenges that come in the creative process.

Max Perkins’s task of editing Wolfe’s novel is an arduous task as he navigates the task of reducing the book while trying to be faithful to the novel’s essence. Working with an eccentric writer like Wolfe was a challenge, but Perkins was committed to bringing out the best in his protege, even if he had to cut and edit a considerable portion of the original story.

Amidst all this, Wolfe develops a romantic relationship with an aspiring stage actress named Aline Bernstein, played by Nicole Kidman. As their relationship deepens, it leads to Wolfe neglecting his work, a situation that forces Perkins to take action to reign in the erratic writer.

But while Wolfe’s relationship seems to lead to his downfall, it is also the beginning of his path to redemption as he becomes more self-aware and finds love with his editor’s assistant, played by Laura Linney. As the movie reaches the ending, we see Wolfe being established as one of America’s greatest authors.

The books success even calls for a sequel and Wolfe comes back to Perkins, almost in tears, asking for his help once again with his manuscript. But their individual worlds had changed.

While Wolfe grew as an author, Perkins, who had mastered the art of editing, felt that he was not growing as much, which leads to a slight confrontation where they both realize that genius, whether its writing or editing, comes with considerable pains and sacrifices. Genius is an intellectual movie that brings to life one of the most vital periods in American literature, filled with contrasting emotions of passion, ego, obsession, and love.

Its a movie that is bound to stir your intellectual senses and give you an insight into the brilliance it takes to create literary works that stay relevant over decades. Genius: A Movie about Literary Greatness

Genius is a 2016 film that showcases exceptional production design and attention to detail that brings to life the early 20th century.

We see a well-crafted production, not just in the gorgeous period costumes or the scenic design of New York and Paris, but also in the subtlest of details, such as the cluttered offices of publishing houses and the rusty details of railway stations. Director Michael Grandage employed multiple techniques to immerse the audience in the era depicted on the screen.

Notably, the dialogue between the characters can be sharp and rapid, which helps to build the intensity that is characteristic of high-pressure publishing. There’s also an abundance of close-ups on the characters’ faces, which deliver a personal and intimate feeling to the performance.

These camera angles make it easier to feel attached to the characters and understand their thoughts, concerns, and motivations better. The movie takes a unique approach to jump between different timelines and show us how Perkins and Wolfe came together.

The script seamlessly juggles the timeline of the movie, and at times, we’re not quite sure if we are watching a flashback or present-day events. This method works well since the flashbacks can be used to deepen the backstory or reveal a significant character detail that would have seemed out of place if it was revealed in chronological order.

Genius also succeeds in compelling performances from its ensemble cast. Colin Firth and Jude Law provide a few of their best performances.

Firth, as Max Perkins, is convincing as a man who knows literature like the back of his hand but who’d now rather be taking care of his family. He holds every emotion in tightly, yet you can still feel his frustrations and how the struggles of balancing work and family have taken a toll on him.

Jude Law is equally impressive as Thomas Wolfe. He plays Wolfe as an all-endearing writer whose self-confidence is his strength and his weakness.

We see how his personality drives those around him but when his fears and insecurities surface, he becomes a vulnerable and endearing individual. The score of Genius is composed by Adam Cork and has a jazz-like feeling to it, which evokes the sense of freedom and creative energy of the time period.

The musical score punctuates key moments in the movie and adds an extra layer of depth to the scenes. The movie also features beautiful costuming from designer Beatrix Aruna Pasztor, which captures the essence of the 1920s New York City style with exquisite precision.

The womens dresses are adorned with chiffon layers, intricate lace overlays, and beads, giving the wardrobe a classic elegance that is nostalgic in a good way. The male characters are dressed in suits, caps, and shoes that speak to their socio-economic background.

The production of the movie is both meticulous and faithful to the period it’s set in, with the lighting, costumes, and set design being impressively accurate. The movie successfully manages to transport viewers back to a different era and makes it easy to see how creative thinker and writers worked and lived, breathed and create.

The technical aspects of the movie are a testament to the expertise and dedication of the cast and crew, who worked hard to create this fantastic, realistic bit of period cinema. Overall, Genius is an enthralling movie with amazing production design elements that take you through a journey of two literary greats to make an impact that moves and transforms social and societal thinking.

Every aspect of the production allows the viewer to be fully immersed in the American literary scene of the early 20th century from the literary greats intimate friendship to the complexities of the characters’ personal lives. Genius: A Movie about Literary Greatness

Genius was released globally in 2016 to massive critical acclaim.

The movie premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2016 and received a standing ovation, with many praising the solid performances from Colin Firth, Jude Law, and Nicole Kidman’s cast. Following its premiere at the festival, many distribution houses bought the rights to distribute the movie in various countries.

Later in June 2016, the movie was released in the United Kingdom. Initially, everything looked great for the movie, with high anticipation from literature enthusiasts and history buffs.

However, despite the good critical reception, the movie only managed to gross $5.7 million worldwide, which fell way short of expectations. But, why did it happen?

One factor that contributed to the poor box office returns was that Genius was released during the summer blockbuster season, when the competition from bigger movies was fierce. The movies niche genre and time period probably made it difficult for some audiences to connect with the story, with the younger audience having no real interest in literature or olden times.

Another probable reason for the movies poor performance lay with its limited early release in the United States. The film was released in theaters in New York and Los Angeles in June 2016 before releasing in other parts of the country in July.

The movie had a limited release in the United States, making it difficult to gain exposure or traction with audiences outside the literary circles. The limited marketing budgets of the small distribution companies also meant that the movie received little promotional support in countries where it was released, which likely contributed to the lack of buzz around the movie.

Despite all of this, the movie remained a critical darling, with praise going to the cinematography, performances, script, and overall production design. It was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Costume Design category.

Interestingly, while the overall financial performance of the movie may not have been terrific, it could have had a deep background impact on the movie industry. For one, the movie shows how important it is to create detailed and authentic period pieces that can transport viewers back in time.

This will continue to be a critical factor in production design and direction for future literary adaptations. Secondly, the movie also highlights the importance of taking bold small bets in movies and telling niche stories.

Studios often play it safe with recurring box office franchises, while audiences crave fresh, new, and thought-provoking content. It’s apparent that there is always an audience for well-crafted, intelligent films beyond the traditional summer blockbusters, but as the case of Genius shows, distribution and marketing of such films are just as critical as their production.

In conclusion, Genius’s box office returns were underwhelming, but its critical reception is a testament to the brilliant direction, acting, and screenplay that was executed to create an evocative piece of filmmaking. Moreover, it underscores the importance of marketing and good distribution, which are just as critical as the quality of the movie itself.

Perhaps with more visible and timely marketing or release, the movie may have gained more Box Office traction, but overall, Genius continues to be held in high regard by literary connoisseurs and fans of historical period pieces. Genius: A Movie about Literary Greatness

Geniuss original score is composed by British composer Adam Cork, who won a Tony Award for his work on the musical Jerusalem.

Cork aimed to create a fitting score for the movie that captures the spirit of the time period in which Thomas Wolfe and Max Perkins lived while complementing the deep emotions and complexity of their characters. Cork wanted his soundtrack to reflect the modernity and freshness of the 1920s and 1930s thriving Paris and New York literary scene.

He combined various musical elements, including jazz, blues, and orchestral motifs to create a fitting ambiance for the movie. What resulted was a score that stood out and resonated with the viewers.

The music was rhythmic and refreshing but still managed to capture the deep emotions that the movie’s characters embodied. In creating the score, Cork worked closely with the director, Michael Grandage, and the music editor, Angus MacRae, to create a cohesive and powerful soundtrack.

The score features live musicians playing a variety of instruments, including bass, drums, and saxophone. These instruments lent an authentic feel to the music, giving it energy and color that remain memorable to this day.

Some of the notable tracks on the soundtrack include the haunting Midnight Train to New York, Sometimes Its Bitter, and Miss Perkins Suitcase. The music title sequence is cut with footage of trains moving along the tracks as the music hints at the deep complexities that run through the movie’s plot.

The score is a beautiful contribution to the film, heightening the viewers experience of the story unfolding on screen and immersing them in the vivid world of the early 20th century. The use of songs in the movie was strategic, only popping up when the mood of the scene needed to shift.

One example is the scene where Max Perkins and Thomas Wolfe first meet, which features the Dixieland Blues music. The upbeat tempo gives momentum to the conversation between the two and invites the audience to become invested in their relationship.

When their relationship becomes strained, the music begins to turn darker.

The music in the movie complements the events on screen brilliantly, underlining the changing moods and helping the viewer to emotionally connect with the characters.

A good example of this is the song Sometimes Its Bitter, a restrained yet heart-wrenching track that plays as Thomas and Aline’s love starts to break down. The music enhances the emotion of the scene, creating empathy and connection between the characters, the story, and the audience.

In conclusion, Geniuss original score and use of songs by Adam Cork played a crucial role in the storytelling. His score helped bring the characters to life in vivid and emotionally impactful ways, drawing the audience into their story and establishing a mood that remained with the audience long after the movie had finished.

The music was expertly mixed into the soundtrack and was a critical factor in creating the era-appropriate ambiance that the movie thrived on. Geniuss music score was an excellent testament to how music can deepen the emotional resonance of a movie and underscores the importance of a thoughtful soundtrack to succeed in a way that truly immerses audiences in the world of the story.

In conclusion, Genius is a movie that explores the complex nature of literature, art, and human relationships. The movie provides a moving portrayal of Max Perkins and Thomas Wolfe, two literary geniuses who stood out in a world of literary greats.

By focusing on the creative process of writing, overcoming personal barriers, and the power of friendship, Genius offers a powerful and cinematic experience that explores human nature and creative excellence.


Q: What is Genius about?

A: Genius is a movie based on the relationship between literary editor Max Perkins and writer Thomas Wolfe, who collaborated on literary works that defined American literature.

Q: Who stars in the movie Genius?

A: The movie stars Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, and Guy Pearce.

Q: Who directed Genius?

A: The movie was directed by Michael Grandage. Q: What is the significance of the movie?

A: The movie is an exploration of the literary culture of the early 20th century, focusing on the creative process, friendship, and the struggles of writing. Q: Did Genius perform well at the box office?

A: No, it didn’t, but it continues to be held in high regard by literary connoisseurs and fans of historical period pieces.

Q: What role did the soundtrack play in the movie?

A: The music of Genius provides the movie with an energy and feeling that captures the spirit of the 1920s and 1930s literary scene. It heightens the viewers’ experience of the story unfolding on the screen, immersing them in the vivid world of the early 20th century.

Q: Was there anything unique about Genius’s production? A: Yes, the well-crafted production design and attention to detail transported viewers back in time, showcasing the cluttered offices of publishing houses, railways stations, and gorgeous period costumes, creating a time-appropriate ambiance that helps viewers connect to the story.

Popular Posts