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Sincerely, F Scott Fitzgerald: A Culture Show Special

Sincerely, F Scott Fitzgerald: A Culture Show Special

Sat May 18, 8.30-9.30pm, BBC2

By Phil Harrison
Jay McInerney begins this documentary by coming dangerously close to conflating himself with F Scott Fitzgerald. Hubris perhaps, but understandable too. Fitzgerald remains the template for a certain kind of urbane, mildly jaded, gently despairing New York author.
Clearly, thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Gatsby’, Fitzgerald is having a bit of a moment just now – but this documentary doesn’t feel like a DVD extra.

McInerney traces the author’s whole life, mainly via his letters. They’re often disturbing, but are just as revealing as the novels in which Fitzgerald generally hid in plain sight. He bemoaned his lost youth. He pondered alcoholism and lost potency. He worried about money. And he clearly struggled with parenthood, penning alternately harsh (‘your company depresses me’) and charming letters to his daughter. This is, eventually, a fascinating portrait of one of twentieth-century literature’s true enigmas.

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