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Hemingway's Garden of Eden (2008)

Jack Huston , Mena Suvari , John Irvin  |  R |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Huston, Mena Suvari, Caterina Murino, Carmen Maura, Matthew Modine
  • Directors: John Irvin
  • Writers: Ernest Hemingway, James Scott Linville
  • Producers: Al Burgess, Alice Guien, Bob Mahoney, Geoff Jarrett, Lorne Thyssen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: March 15, 2011
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004HGCNBC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,076 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hemingway's Garden of Eden" on IMDb

Special Features

• Theatrical Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Passions ignite and explode across the screen in this erotic film based on Ernest Hemingway’s final, controversial novel. While on an extended honeymoon across Europe, a young American writer (Jack Huston) and his wife (Mena Suvari) become players in a tantalizing game of seduction that threatens to destroy their relationship and change their lives forever.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars desire & creativity January 2, 2011
Format:DVD
I saw this film in December of 2010, and I wondered why it wasn't on anyone's Best of 2010 list because I really thought it was the best thing that I saw all year (and I see a lot of movies). Now I see that the reason no one mentioned it was because it was released in 2008 (although I never heard it mentioned until this years 2010 NYTimes Fall/Winter Preview edition mentioned it as if it were a new release).

Suffice it to say that this adaptation is perhaps more whimsical in tone than is Hemingway's posthumously published work Garden of Eden (every moment Richard Grant is on screen is going to have a measure of whimsy) but even with a dose or two of comic relief, this is pretty heady & pretty steamy stuff.

Jack K. Huston (unknown to me before seeing this film) plays a twenty-something Hemingway-ish writer living a splendidly bohemian low rent ex-pat existence in Paris until he meets a wealthy American (Mena Suvari) on a kind of art buying holiday. Once these two meet, the young "Hemingway" is introduced to the finer things in life (new sports car, new clothes, expensive restaurants & chalets) but also to a more decadent side of life (as it turns out that his new bride is a bi-sexual gender-bending adventurer). At first the young writer goes along with his flirty new brides games and even dyes his hair blonde to match hers (which gets shorter & shorter & more boyish as the film progresses). But when these platinum blonde twins invite a third to play in their love games, a struggle for creative control over the relationship ensues.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High on Visuals, Low on Intrique.. May 24, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Hemingway novel, Garden of Eden, was not published until after his death. It was an unfinished exploration into gender issues. The movie fails to capture this spirit of exploration and relies mostly on three beautiful bodies and faces to carry us past the contrivances of one character, Catherine. She seems to express her mean spirited alcoholism much better than her sexuality. As in the book, Catherine becomes the wife of David, a thinly disguised stand in for Hemingway. Their courtship is much too short, and their marriage equally so due to Catherine's insistence that they both sleep with a woman she meets called Marita.

If Catherine had been allowed to have a passionate side this movie might have worked. Instead she comes across as a cold, controlling manipulator who treats people like puppets she has purchased. Rather than being passionate about her sexuality, she spends the film acting out various skits with her puppets while drinking too much. After a few of these skits she takes the name "Devil", which fits all too well. David's response to this is at times puzzling because he doesn't come across as being as passionate about his writing as he is about the reviews on his first book. He rebuts her insults but does not treat them as the attacks on his writer persona that they obviously are. Until he writes a story about his father, which Catherine savages, his writing isn't really the film's focus. Catherine's whims control everything.

Marita's character is a bit puzzling as she doesn't seem to have any real affection for Catherine and appears from the onset to be more interested in David, even though she is supposed to be the lesbian. In fact if all lesbians were like Marita, straight women wouldn't have a chance!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No remorse April 18, 2011
By Davey
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite books and I was anxious to see the movie version. It had good looking people and it was sort of about the book. But the book was about the nature of androgyny, role playing and a woman wanting to be a man because she felt powerless as a woman. The movie was about a threesome. Marita was a real disappointment and David was a bland cipher in no way a representation of Hemingway. Devil wasn't devilish. She had the look, her haircuts were great and she did an OK job, but she just didn't have the sexual spark needed to carry the story. I have no regrets about buying the movie, I wanted to see it and enjoyed it. But it could have been so much better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Off the mark January 8, 2013
By Ben
Format:Amazon Instant Video
This film is a far cry from the artistry of Hemingway's Garden of Eden. Mena Suvari fails miserably at the part of Catherine- she stumbles and acts unevenly in her attempt at playing a powerful woman. Director John Irvin would've been much better off with a no name actress with the will to become Catherine Bourne, one of Hemingway's deepest characters. Though her acting is poor, the screenplay doesn't deserve much credit either. James Linville's adaptation does not convey the magnificent depth of characters Hemingway has presented nor the relationships between them. I strongly warn against viewing this film. The time would be much better spent reading the novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Read the Book February 29, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
There's nothing of merit really in this movie that you wouldn't more profitably accrue in the book. I was fine with the factual changes they made, conflating some scenes, adding some facts, etc., but there were a few problems I had.

One, the scenes were way too fast. The movie picks up after about thirty minutes and the scenes start getting a little better pacing to them, but overall I thought it was a pretty poorly paced film. I never really felt anchored, and therefore never felt weight in the scenes which were supposed to give weight.

Two, I didn't think the acting was fabulous. It wasn't terribly, but those are difficult roles to play.

I'd say this probably isn't worth your money.

Read the book. It was Hemingway's freakish surreal/fantasy novel before he killed himself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie to have in collection.
Great movie to have in collection.
Published 3 months ago by DSh
4.0 out of 5 stars Deviant Beauty & the Beast
Musical scores and location scenery are quite beautiful. Jack Huston makes a believable writer (David Bourne) who gets caught up in his wife's fantasies of gender bending trysting. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Didi
2.0 out of 5 stars Sad Example
This is far and away the saddest example of Hemingway's writing ability that I've ever encountered. It certainly does not come close to demonstrating the ability of this great... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Quicken User
4.0 out of 5 stars Unhappy because of unknown editing.
We really liked the movie so I give it 4 stars but the video I purchased for some reason had a few parts that were edited out from the original movie we saw on Netflex. Read more
Published 11 months ago by smiley
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok movie!
The book was much better, as it almost always is! It's an ok movie to watch if you really have ran out of other movies to choose from:)) Nothing that I would recommend to my... Read more
Published 12 months ago by INNERCURE
2.0 out of 5 stars What has this to do with Hemingway?
If you need to be titillated that badly, you can waste your time watching this. Personally, it was a waste of my time to view it.
Published 14 months ago by manatee
3.0 out of 5 stars Ho Hum...Yawn
"Based on the controversial final novel from Ernest Hemingway, this steamy drama is the tale of newlyweds (JACK HUSTON, MENA SUVARI) who become embroiled in an erotic game. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sinohey
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful cast
fine movie, worth watching just to see the bugatti being driven along the coast. and the fem fatale really was just that.
Published 16 months ago by frank field
3.0 out of 5 stars O.K. For Awhile
The movie is interesting for awhile. Then it runs out of steam and just becomes annoying, as are the characters.
Published 17 months ago by Mark Price
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
It was very interesting to view one of Hemingway's more controversial stories. I understand why, and I also think that just maybe he added a bit of himself into the main male... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Momosa
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