Papa Hemingway in Cuba
Celebrity suck-up biopics, stories of famous people told through the eyes of their bottom-feeding sycophants, has become a subgenre in the world of independent film. Just in the last year, we’ve seen Elvis & Nixon, Miles Ahead, The End of the Tour and Life, all told from the point of view of a person tangentially related to the film’s ostensible subject. It’s an easy way to offer an awards-baiting role to a slumming actor while also avoiding paying for the rights to a life story that anyone cares about. In the plodding and perfunctory Papa Hemingway in Cuba, the story of the great writer’s final days takes a back seat to Giovanni Ribisi as Ed Myers, a real-life journalist/fanboy who conned and cajoled his way into Hemingway’s favor. It was shot in Cuba at Hemingway’s actual house and haunts, but that’s all there is to recommend about this tired film. D.B.