The glamorous Hemingway clan, drawn to hard living and dark thoughts, finds a sensitive psychodocumentarian in Barbara Kopple, who unpacks their tale with a minimum of gloopiness. Grandpapa Ernest broods out of archival footage shot at Pamplona’s running of the bulls; granddaughter Margeaux flounces around Studio 54 and slips into paralyzing self-doubt; great-grandaughter Dree wonders on camera about all the pain that’s been kept from her, even as her career as a model skyrockets.
The fulcrum is actor Mariel, the youngest of three sisters and Dree’s mother, who channeled her loneliness into Woody Allen’s Manhattan and emerged from the fame machine relatively unscathed. These days, she’s an activist for mental-illness awareness; Kopple doesn’t need to lure her into a reflective mood because she’s always open—crying, yoga-cizing, meditating. A certain Hollywood self-absorption is on display here, but the family’s depressing story merits Mariel’s vigilant defensiveness.
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