‘This man has a gift for friendship’, Scott Fitzgerald tells Thomas Wolf in Genius, a movie about Max Perkins, editor at Scribner’s Publishing House in the 20’s and 30’s. This real character helped many writers, including the mentioned two and Hemingway to get their novels published. Usually the ones who end up filling the lists of History of Literature are only the authors, while those thoughtful and intelligent readers that are editors fall into oblivion. Jude Law plays the character of Thomas Wolf, a man who lives to write, but who also makes his life worth of being told, in terms of experiences. He constantly creates real material for his long and poetic novels. Extremely intelligent, drunken, promiscuous, it was his fate to die at 37 out of a myriad of tumors inside his extremely productive brain.
Genius focuses on the relationship between the two men, writer and editor, like father and son, friends, and the hard work of editing a book that is to be readily consumed by readers. An editor can be the genius who makes a writer successful and his work a Bestseller -that’s the Japanese title for the film-, but also the evil who cripples an original masterpiece, as Nicole Kidman, playing Wolf’s lover, holds it against Max. That fight between spontaneous creativity and the constraining structure of normative language is inside each of us every time we grab a pen, we start pressing keys on our computers or we swipe our finger along the cell-phone’s display.