R | 1h 49min | Biography, Drama
Review - Matt Mungle
*In theaters April 29th*
Synopsis: In 1959, a young journalist ventures to Havana, Cuba to meet his idol, the legendary Ernest Hemingway who helped him find his literary voice, while the Cuban Revolution comes to a boil around them.
Review: As a fan of Giovanni Ribisi I am always excited to see him attached to a project. In Papa Hemingway in Cuba he plays journalist Ed Myers (based on real life Miami Herald reporter Denne Bart Peticlerc) who has a chance to meet and spend time with his literary hero, Ernest Hemingway (Adrian Sparks). This friendship blossoms into a deep relationship that becomes an important part of Ed's own writing
This is obviously a film that you watch for on location visuals and character acting. To try and use it as a biopic for Ernest, Ed, or any other character will leave you scratching your head. We are allowed a glimpse into some areas of their life but many of the dark corners remain unlit. There are subtle references to the Cuban Revolution, the FBI's interest in Ernest, and the relationship between Hemingway and his fourth wife, Mary (Joely Richardson).
Director Bob Yari was given unprecedented access to not only Cuba but Hemingway's estate. These elements make it special for those who, again, like the visual nuances of film. The late 50's has a style all its own and the film captures the time period nicely. The Revolution was just hitting its heights and Ed Myers was allowed to get up close and personal which helped his articles at the Miami Globe.
Sparks plays Hemingway with an ease and comfort. He seems to embody the spirit of the writer (as far as we are allowed to see) which helps to ground the audience to the story. He has a warm report with Ribisi that creates a mentor bond that is close to fatherly. The supporting cast add depth of dialogue and side stories that help propel the main characters.
Papa Hemingway in Cuba is rated R for language, sexuality, some violence and nudity. It is an adult film but not an offensive film. The Hemingway's are very open and granola long before it was a thing. They are comfortable in their own minds and bodies and have few hangups. This ability to put it all out there make them interesting but certainly not for young viewers. I give it 3.75 out of 5 rough drafts. Not a perfect film but the acting an backdrop make it worth a viewing for the right art house patron.