Martin Eden

Martin Eden

Martin Eden

Loosely adapting Jack London's 1909 novel of the same name, this Italian-French historical romance drama following a love-struck sailor who pursues his dreams of becoming a writer. The journey he paves, however, puts him at odds with his new love.

"Initially a sailor, Martin Eden is inspired to educate, elevate, and remake himself as a writer following a chance encounter and romantic infatuation with the sophisticated, higher-class Elena (a luminous Jessica Cressy). As Martin develops and intensely pursues his new-found obsessions, both literary and social, he betrays those around him, denies his class consciousness, and rejects his humble origins, which gnaw at him from within." (Toronto International Film Festival)

2019Rating: M, Coarse language and a sex scene125 minsItaly, France, GermanyItalian, Neapolitan and French with English subtitles
DramaRomanceHistoricalWorld CinemaFestival & Independent

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Martin Eden / Reviews

Film Threat

Film Threat

It suffers from a lack of clear direction, leading to its many excellent pieces never quite fitting together.

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Film School Rejects

Film School Rejects

It will likely move you more than you’re expecting.

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The Straits Times

The Straits Times

Marcello does what he can to make Eden's inner growth cinematic, but the results are uneven.

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RogerEbert.com

RogerEbert.com

It's a slog at over two hours...

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Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

A work of art that abounds in its own beautiful contradictions.

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Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

It’s the man behind the camera as much as the one in front of it... that gives Martin Eden such a bracing sense of vitality.

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Vulture

Vulture

The film is a masterpiece... see it any way you can.

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The New Yorker

The New Yorker

The film is a romance, of sorts, yet it also wields an anti-romantic ferocity...

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The Irish Times

The Irish Times

No film could replicate the tragic weight of London's work, but this comes awfully close.

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The Australian

The Australian

Despite the liberties it takes with the source material, the film is dramatically and emotionally immensely satisfying.

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A.V. Club

A.V. Club

Yet without dumbing down its message, Marcello’s sweeping Künstlerroman has all the pleasurable characteristics of a simmering romance and a poignant tragedy, too.

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The New York Times

The New York Times

The true miracle of this film is how Marcello translates both London’s scabrous tone and his lush, character-revealing prose into pure cinema. Lines have been plucked from the novel, yet even at its wordiest, the film is never weighed down by the burden of faithfulness.

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Slant Magazine

Slant Magazine

Pietro Marcello’s film works better as a story of self-loathing and self-destruction than it does as a social critique or political statement.

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Screen Daily

Screen Daily

Marcello and his committed, compelling lead actor Luca Marinelli deliver an always watchable take on the hoary old story of the struggling artist that is more interesting in its shape-shifting style and texture than in its rather conventional dramatic core.

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IndieWire

IndieWire

This spry yet increasingly bitter romantic drama is so vague and un-targeted that its social critiques feel less defined than ever. The anger is palpable, but its targets are hard to pinpoint.

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Variety

Variety

The outcome is an unwieldy intellectual sprawl whose incontestable visual pleasures (much like Marcello’s “Lost and Beautiful”) distract from the shallow characterizations. ... The overarching impression is of a film too much in thrall to theory.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

Marcello never quite manages to shoehorn in both more than a century’s worth of European struggles and sociopolitical thinking and the full story of Eden’s downfall after he’s finally become successful. Indeed, these weighty concerns capsize the entire enterprise in the final stretch, where the story runs aground on an iceberg of undigested ideas, barely developed themes and bad hair choices.

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