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Papa: Hemingway in Cuba

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Not so much a motion picture as a moving postcard. The big deal here is that it’s the first Hollywood movie filmed in Cuba since Castro’s revolution. They even got inside Ernest Hemingway’s house, Finca Vigía! The big deal should be that the autobiographical screenplay was written by Denne Bart Petitclerc, a Hemingway worshiper who became his friend during the runup to said revolution. (Giovanni Ribisi stands in for the man, but doesn’t show much feel for the role of an orphan desperate for a father and a writer desperate for a mentor.) But it’s a screenplay that includes sun-ripened dialogue like, “You can’t judge him like an ordinary man, because he’s not ordinary in any sense of the word,” and “The only value we have as human beings are the risks we’re willing to take.” And the big deal might be Adrian Sparks as the drunken, blocked, and depressed Nobel Laureate, but Bob Yari’s uneven direction keeps him from gathering to a greatness. In the end, it’s a museum piece: even the drunken screaming matches between Hemingway and his wife feel staged. (2016) — Matthew Lickona

Rated R | 1 hour, 49 minutes
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