I’m not a movie reviewer, but I feel compelled to say something about the new film Papa Hemingway in Cuba. It’s directed by Bob Yari who did Crash and The Illusionist. Two pretty good movies.
Papa is not. As much as I want it to be.
But, this is not going to be a bashing. That’s too easy. There’s plenty that is overwrought about this movie. Like several reviewers have written, the movie makers should have taken Hemingway’s advice and done less to show more. Some of the narration is helplessly obvious, the dialogue heavy handed and cliched. Still, it’s pretty impressive that it was filmed in Cuba and at Hemingway’s home outside Havana. But it’s not enough to save the movie.
Still, what the movie does very well is this: It reminds writers that writing is a blessing, a curse, and to do it well, it has to be the essence of your being. NOT writing is NOT an option. For Hemingway, not being able to write eventually killed him. Certainly, I don’t wish that on any writer. But his commitment and his devotion to the art is not only legendary, it’s inspiring.
We can thank this movie for reminding us of this.
And with that, we remember what Hemingway said about his craft.
In one form of another, this is what Ernest Hemingway said or wrote about writing.