Writer-director Henry Bromell's made-for-cable drama examines the flickering splendor of deteriorating genius F. Scott Fitzgerald, focusing on the novelist's last ditch efforts at redemption.
It's the late 1930s and Fitzgerald (Jeremy Irons) is losing hope that his
American life is headed for a happy second. Literary fame came early, but so did
disappointment, most notably via abortive attempts at screenwriting. His long-time paramour, Sheila Graham (Natalie Radford), is tired of cosseting her "beloved infidel," and has decided to focus her energies on her gossip column. Having frittered away emotional energy he could ill afford on his mentally
ill wife, Zelda (Sissy Spacek), Fitzgerald comes to the realization that alcohol only fuels his writer’s block. Alternately wracked by DTs and hallucinations of Zelda though she lives in a mental institution, Zelda appears to Fitzgerald in ghost-like fashion and needles him like a guilty conscience Fitzgerald begins writing what will be his fifth and final novel, The Last Tycoon. Impressed with the typing skill and calm demeanor of Frances Kroll (Neve Campbell), Fitzgerald hires her as secretary and girl Friday. The compassionate Frances recognizes her boss’s shortcomings, but patiently disposes of his empty liquor bottles and even shares her thoughts about his characters. Frances gradually becomes a surrogate child to Fitzgerald, who dines with the Kroll Family and uses them as inspiration for his fiction. When visions of accusatory Zelda deepen Fitzgerald’s depression, he forces himself to write, and benders become a rarity under Frances’s level-headed guidance. Death strikes the worn-out author before completion of the book, but Frances finds a publisher for the unfinished manuscript.
Irons' transcendent performance nails the self-loathing of a writer whose creative well is running dry: He even overcomes the batty histrionics of Spacek, who's grievously miscast as Zelda.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: NR
- Review: Writer-director Henry Bromell's made-for-cable drama examines the flickering splendor of deteriorating genius F. Scott Fitzgerald, focusing on the novelist's last ditch efforts at redemption. It's the late 1930s and Fitzgerald (Jeremy Irons) is lo… (more)