Martha and her sisters : women in films about journalism
McNair, Brian (2013) Martha and her sisters : women in films about journalism. Journalism Practice, 7(1), pp. 112-114.
HBO's Hemingway and Gellhorn (Philip Kaufman, 2012), broadcast in May on US television and starring Nicole Kidman as the pioneering female foreign correspondent, hasn't been well reviewed by the majority of critics. Variety described the biopic (with Clive Owen as Hemingway) as “swollen and heavy-handed”, while the Huffington Post declared it an “expensive misfire … a gigantic missed opportunity, a jaw-droppingly trying waste of time”. Regardless of whether such criticisms are fair—as this essay went to press I had been unable to see the film, so I cannot judge one way or the other—Hemingway and Gellhorn should be viewed as a significant addition to the filmography of journalism, retrieving from history as it does the achievements of one of the most significant of the early female practitioners. Gellhorn was a pioneer in a patriarchal press universe, a foreign and war correspondent at a time when this branch of the profession was seen very much as man's work. She covered the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, and with just as much viscerality as any man.
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