Some People Will Always "Running From Crazy" Review

Early in Running From Crazy, the Hemingway family (of Ernest and Mariel fame) is compared to the Kennedy clan, less for their stature in American culture than for the unending series of calamities that seems to befall them. It seems like a bold claim at first, but by the end of the film’s running time, the connection is more than justified. Beginning with patriarch Ernest’s suicide (the first of seven), the Hemingway legacy is one defined as much by depression and mental illness as it is by literary prominence.

But is there hope? Could anyone hope to get out from under the weight of so much tragedy? Mariel (the film’s central figure) seems ambivalent about the answer to that question, but nevertheless she tries. Much of Crazy follows her in her charity work as she tries to draw attention to suicide prevention, but even as she does, she seems ambivalent about her prospects for success, and haunted by the deaths she couldn’t stop. The modern day footage of her activism is engaging (if inflected with OWN's brand of marketable optimism), but it pales in comparison to the archival movies of Mariel and her sister Margaux, which recall Capturing the Friedmans in their intensity. In these moments, Running threatens to be something truly shattering (not unexpected from director Barbara Koppel), but settles ultimately for being sensitive and respectful.

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"Running From Crazy" is on sale October 28, 2014 and is not rated. Documentary. Directed by Barbara Kopple. Starring Jack Hemingway, Joan Hemingway, Langley Hemingway, Margaux Hemingway, Mariel Hemingway.

Feb
06
2015
Anders Nelson • Associate Editor

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