Genius (2016) - Rotten Tomatoes

Genius (2016)



Critic Consensus: Genius seeks to honor worthy subjects, yet never gets close enough to the titular quality to make watching worth the effort.

Genius Videos

Genius Photos

Movie Info

From Academy Award-nominated screenwriter JOHN LOGAN (Gladiator, The Aviator, Hugo, Skyfall) and acclaimed, Tony Award-winning director MICHAEL GRANDAGE in his feature film debut, comes Genius, a stirring drama about the complex friendship and transformative professional relationship between the world-renowned book editor Maxwell Perkins (who discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway) and the larger-than-life literary giant Thomas Wolfe. Based on the biography "Max Perkins: Editor of Genius" by A. SCOTT BERG, Genius stars COLIN FIRTH as Perkins, JUDE LAW as Wolfe, NICOLE KIDMAN as Aline Bernstein, a costume designer sharing a tumultuous relationship with Wolfe, LAURA LINNEY as Louise Perkins, Max's wife and a talented playwright, GUY PEARCE as F. Scott Fitzgerald and DOMINIC WEST as Ernest Hemingway.

Watch it now


Colin Firth
as Max Perkins
Jude Law
as Thomas Wolfe
Nicole Kidman
as Aline Bernstein
Laura Linney
as Louise Saunders
Guy Pearce
as F. Scott Fitzgerald
Dominic West
as Ernest Hemingway
Vanessa Kirby
as Zelda Fitzgerald
Julia Wolfe
as Gillian Hanna
Demetri Goritsas
as John Wheelock
Mark Arnold
as Boat Captain
Angela Ashton
as Bertha Perkins
Eve Bracken
as Zippy Perkins
Katya Watson
as Jane Perkins
Lorna Doherty
as Peggy Perkins
Makenna McBrierty
as Nancy Perkins
Miquel Brown
as Eleanor, "Perkins' Maid
Corey Johnson
as John Wheelock
Lucy Briers
as Miss Wyckoff
Harry Attwell
as Assistant Editor
Ray Strasser-King
as James Mailroom Clerk
Katherine Kingsley
as Purring Woman
Cassandra Nina
as Woman at Bar
Andrew Byron
as Grand Central Station Conductor
Jane Perry
as John Hopkins Hospital Nurse
Trina Dillon
as Effie Wolfe
Gary Thomsett
as Frank Wolfe
Elaine Caulfield
as Mabel Wolfe
Mark Philimore
as Frederick Wolfe
James Bierman
as Funeral Minister
Richard Clark
as Guest at Purring Woman's Table
Stella McCabe
as Guest at Purring Woman's Table
Christopher Oram
as Guests at Purring Woman's Table
Mike Vessey
as Guest at Purring Woman's Table
Alistair Sanderson
as Lighting Technician
Alex Scrivens
as Lighting Technician
Pamela Okoroafor
as Woman at Bar
Jo Dyce
as Dancer
View All

News & Interviews for Genius

Critic Reviews for Genius

All Critics (109) | Top Critics (38)

Not nearly as smart as it should be.

June 17, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

"Genius" deals with the creative ego, its trappings and the need everyone has for an editor.

June 17, 2016 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Well-written, gorgeously shot, and expertly edited, the film is also an exasperating exercise in good intentions gone wrong.

June 17, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Perhaps the best advertisement for Genius -- not only did it make me want to revisit Berg's book, it had me lining up the Wolfe, Fitzgerald and Hemingway on the e-book runway.

June 16, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Firth and Law falter with their characters' awkward bromance: the former a fatherly cipher (will he ever take off that fedora?); the latter a clatter of drunken scribe clichés.

June 16, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

An intriguing study of the personalities and torturous process behind some of the early 20th century's great writing.

June 16, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Genius

Based on a true story, Genius is a compelling character drama that explores the creative spirit. When book editor Max Perkins comes across a manuscript by struggling writer Thomas Wolfe he sees the potential of a great novelist, and works with him tirelessly to get his books edited and published. The film does an especially good job at showing the collaborative process that artists and editors have. And both Colin Firth and Jude Law deliver incredibly strong performances. However, the plot's a bit formulaic, featuring a lot of standard struggling artist tropes (battle with alcoholism, betraying friends and family, etc.). Also, several characters are underdeveloped; Nicole Kidman in particular is wasted as a stereotypical neglected wife. Yet while it has some problems, Genius is a fascinating look at the creative process and the man who shepherded some of the most prestigious writers of the early twentieth century.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

A film about some of the greatest writers of all time, and the editor who found those very writers? It has to be really well-written right? Well, that's not necessarily the case. While as a concept, 'Genius' is fascinating, it doesn't always live up to the greatness that the subjects of the film bring to the table. First time director Michael Grandage took on the project, and managed to pull in some serious acting talent in Jude Law, Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, and Guy Pearce. Quite the cast if I may say, and they are clearly the best thing about 'Genius'. Law, who plays the eccentric Thomas Wolfe, can be over the top and even sometimes out of sync with the tone, is perhaps the most entertaining thing about this story. His unpredictability and tragic nature to how he treats his life and the people in it can be difficult to take your eyes off. Firth is always great, and plays the famous editor, Max Perkins. And Kidman is the standout performer as she adds the most layers to what is mostly a thinly written movie. I just found a whole lot of it to be flat and hollow. There are times where the film is on the brink of greatness, but it never takes that next step. Instead, it too easily falls into the tropes of a clichéd biopic. It's unfortunate, because I really like the angle they were going for. An editor and a writer struggle to juggle both work and family in the midst of writing a book that runs over a few thousand pages. I love movies about behind the scenes stuff, but much like 'Hail Caesar!' from earlier this year, it doesn't go the extra mile to make it more than just your average biopic. The performances are great and the direction is okay, but I needed more out of the script. The film is about as dull as the color coding is. +Kidman & Law +Felt like the 20's +The premise is fascinating -Thinly written script -Beat for beat clichéd biopic 6.9/10

Thomas Drufke
Thomas Drufke

Super Reviewer

Genius Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features