68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2003
Another great movie that I stumbled upon. I cannot believe that there was not more written about this one. The beautiful Neve Campbell delivers a remarkable performance and Jeremy Irons along with Cissy Spacek ensure that you will be taken on a highly interesting ride.
Jeremy Irons - arguably the best living actor - truly becomes "Scott" in this harrowing display of creative downward spirals with momentary glimpses of genius.
Instead of glorifying or overly romanticizing the subject, the director paints a picture of the subtle and not-so-subtle relationship dynamics among the characters; particularly the struggles of Fitzgerald and his lovely, devoted and talented assistant.
This is one of those rare finds in the world of movies that falls under the radar but once discovered, becomes a treasure to the viewer.
Very nicely done.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
This movie is an interesting docudrama about the last years of F. Scott Fitzgerald as he was writing "The Last Tycoon."
Starring as F. Scott Fitzgerald is award winning actor Jeremy Irons. While I have the greatest respect for Irons as an actor I just didn't feel he pulled off this part. Irons has an evilness that seems to hang around his characters and Fitzgerald never struck me as evil only severely flawed and tempted. So the brooding and self-deprecating Irons never allowed the vulnerability of Fitzgerald to shine through in this role, but he sure plays a mean drunk.
Neve Campbell plays Fitzgerald's faithful and infatuated secretary, Frances. Campbell is pretty good in this role but cowers against the strength of Irons at times. She pulls off the period well conforming enough to the standards of women working during the late 30's. Also appearing off and on as a negative force in the film is Sissy Spacek as Zelda Fitzgerald. I thought the film would have been much more interesting with a little more Spacek and some of Zelda's drama.
I enjoyed this film only because it provided a bit of an inside look into the downfall of the great F. Scott Fitzgerald. It always seems that the greatest minds of artistic people suffer from exactly what makes them brilliant, a very vivid imagination that ends up haunting them into a deep black hole.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2004
I originally watched this film on Showtime during its premiere broadcast. It was shown in a letterboxed format. Unfortunately, Showtime chose to author this DVD in pan & scan.
The film really loses some of its intimacy betweeen the characters, and much of the wonderful production design. What was sharp and clear in widescreen is now slightly blurred, also.
Bad choice for a really wonderful film, Showtime. HBO gives us their original works with the aspect ratio intact intact, why don't you?
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2006
Jeremy Irons gets inside the head of F. Scott Fitzgerald in his last attempt at a novel. On the outside, Mr. Irons has a perfect Tuxedo Park, NY accent, with strains of the midwest and the south, in which F Scott Fitzgerald lived. On the inside, Irons gets the brass nerve evident in the personality of F Scott Fitzgerald through his books. He portrays the rising to the occasion of writing the book "The Last Tycoon" to a tee, complete with the brass nerve, the games alcoholics play, the eccentricity of Mr. Fitzgerald and the somewhat childlike but occasionally brusque treatment of his secretary, played by Neve Campbell. We never doubt that F. Scott Fitzgerald is a genius and we root for his comeback.
The story moves along at a nice pace, with glamorous sets to boot, one reminiscent of the Brown Derby, where everyone that was anyone in Hollywood hung out. Neve Campbell should not be underestimated as a natural at portraying Mr. Fitzgerald's foil in this, e.g. she picks up his slack, even disposing of alcohol bottles because Mr. Fitzgerald is too paranoid to do it himself. She has a bundleful of feelings for him. We never doubt that F. Scott Fitzgerald is a genius and we root for his comeback.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2008
This is a very accurate portrayal of Scott Fitzgerald's last days as he struggles to create the novel The Last Tycoon under the eye of a youthful secretary who basically must become his housewife. The story is not only about writing, but about a talented man's struggle to maintain his decency and integrity after totally blowing out his personality with a monstrous addiction to alcohol. He mainly succeeds, not always, but it is the sort of thing which ought to be shown at AA meetings.
Scott was eccentric to start with, of course. His institutionalized wife Zelda comes into his view in flashbacks that look like demented alcoholic dreams, in which Zelda is interestingly interpreted by Sissy Spacek. Nave Campbell's portrayal of the secretary is great, and Irons' inhabitation of Fitzgerald very shrewd, going for essences, and entirely convincing. This is one of those rare movies which convincingly grapples with the creative process, even as it survives under impossible circumstances. Highly recommended.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2009
Watching this film was like a trip back in my own history. Jeromey Irons caught the roller coaster personality of Scott. The designers couldn't have come closer in large scope and detail in sets, costumes, people and the "attitude" generally shared by that generation.
I was very plesantly surprised when I ran across this film. I hadn't known it existed. How did it escape my "film-dar?"
The stories about Scott's life were never as interesting as the lifes of those in his books. His drinking kept him away from his productive side too long. Just imagine had he not lost so many years to his Gin, how many more hours of pleasure would have been enjoyed by a world of readers.
The film was magnetic to me. It pulled me directly into the story, the action, the life. Wait a minute... I'm only 62. I never met F. Scott Fitzgerald in person. I suppose the film did it's duty by involving me so thoroughly that I believed I was there.
Good work Folks!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2008
The lead roles; Jeremy Irons playing the tortured F Scott Fitzgerald, and Neve Campbell playing his secretary Frances, were superbly performed. I can't even recall who the other actors were (such as Sissy Spacek playing Fitzgerald's insane wife). The backdrop sets showing a 1930's Hollywood and environs were also very nicely executed.
Fitzgerald is portrayed as the tortured genius - recklessly squeezing the most out of life and his failing body. His young secretary Frances, is shown by Campbell to be a novice star-struck author and loyal secretary to Fitzgerald . . . rather wise for her years. Again, with the beautiful 1930's L.A. backdrop and the strong leads, this could'a/should'a been a great movie. In my opinion the screenplay let it down. A case of "all dressed up and nowhere to go . . . ."
Moderately entertaining and a bit of an education on the private life of the popular author. 3 and a half stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2013
Having just finished rereading the Great Gatsby as an adult and finding so much more in the book than I had as nineteen year old. And also having read a biography about Zelda and Fitzgerald years ago I was interested in seeing this movie about Fitzgerald's last days. So I ordered this movie on the strength of its having Jeremy Irons playing Fitzgerald and was not disappointed. It is an excellent portrayal of his last days alive and of his effort to write his last book The Last Tycoon as well as his relationship with this very young girl/assistant, and his battle with alcohol. A serious movie about an artist who has witnessed the highs of fame, acceptance, love, beauty, and brilliance and is now living through the last days of daily struggle of writing when it is no longer easy, of needing to quit drinking in order to write, of having bad health sapping his energy, but is still honest about himself. I highly recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2009
This is one movie every writer should see. It is about F. Scott Fitzberald, an amazing writer who had definitely some battles to overcome but he always kept his mind clear for writing. Jeremy Irons plays Fitzgerald, Neve Campbell plays his secretary who grows very close to him in his last moment. Through all off this, Fitzgerald writes his best work. It is not a joyous film but one to be seen for sure
on February 1, 2012
This movie had Jeremy Irons falling down drunk, in his robe and pajamas in a lot of the movie - and was a sad reflection of Fitzgerald. Perhaps he was this sad, lonely man who was "improved" by the presence of his 23 year old secretary -who showed more wisdom at her young age than he did at 44. I knew he died young, but not quite that young. Having Sissy Spacek appear to him, even though she was in a sanitarium at the time seemed to portray him as delusional - as I suppose he was after drinking so much.