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(2020) (Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried) (R)
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- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: An outspoken, alcoholic screenwriter has sixty days to write a scathing screenplay about a powerful newspaper magnate he socialized with years earlier.
It's 1940 and Herman "Mank" Mankiewicz (GARY OLDMAN) is a well-known but now pretty much washed-up screenwriter who's worked for several Hollywood studios and is known not only for his drinking, but also his penchant for saying whatever's on his mind.
Tapped by young upstart filmmaker Orson Welles (TOM BURKE) to write a screenplay for him in sixty days, Herman -- who's just survived a car crash that's broken his leg -- is whisked off to a remote home in the desert by Welles' collaborator, John Houseman (SAM TROUGHTON). There, the scribe is to be cared for by Frieda (MONIKA GOSSMANN), a German nurse, and Rita Alexander (LILY COLLINS) who will serve as his assistant, including taking his dictation and then typing up Herman's pages.
Unbeknownst to nearly everyone, the script is to be about powerful California newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst (CHARLES DANCE), based in part on Herman's various interactions with the man and his actress girlfriend, Marion Davies (AMANDA SEYFRIED), in the past.
As seen through various flashbacks to earlier years that include Herman's long-suffering wife, Sara (TUPPENCE MIDDLETON), we see the scribe bringing a new young writer, Charlie Lederer (JOSEPH CROSS), into his studio fold while also introducing his younger brother, Joseph (TOM PELPHREY), to the movie world. That includes meeting MGM head honcho Louis B. Mayer (ARLISS HOWARD), and his right-hand man, Irving Thalberg (FERDINAND KINGSLEY).
With the story jumping back and forth through time, Herman's interactions with those figures, both good and bad, end up influencing his work, while his drinking threatens to undermine his ability to meet Orson's deadline.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- They might if they're into movies about Hollywood of old, the film "Citizen Kane," those made by director David Fincher, or anyone in the cast.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For some language.
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