Oct 13
2020

Ernest Hemingway, the iconic literary figure considered one of the greatest American writers and among the first to live and work at the treacherous nexus of art and celebrity, is the subject of an upcoming three-part, six-hour documentary series directed by award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick coming to PBS April 5-7, 2021 at 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). The documentary paints an intimate picture of Hemingway the writer – who captured on paper the complexities of the human condition in spare and profound prose, and whose work remains deeply influential around the world – while also penetrating the myth of Hemingway the man’s man to reveal a deeply troubled and ultimately tragic figure. The film also explores Hemingway’s limitations and biases as an artist and a man of his time. “Hemingway is both an intimate, turbulent family saga and an examination of some of the greatest works of American literature in the 20th century,” said director Ken Burns. “The documentary attempts to show how flawed our assumptions about Ernest Hemingway and his writing have been. At the same time, we are unsparing in our inquiry into less well-known aspects of his character and writing. Our intent is to offer viewers an honest portrayal of a complex and conflicted writer who left an indelible mark on literature.” Narrated by long-time collaborator Peter Coyote, the series features an all-star cast of actors bringing Hemingway (voiced by Jeff Daniels), his friends and family vividly to life. Through letters to and from his four wives – voiced by Meryl Streep, Keri Russell, Mary Louise Parker and Patricia Clarkson – the film reveals Hemingway at his most romantic and his most vulnerable, grappling at times with insecurity, anxiety and existential loneliness. In three two-hour episodes, “Hemingway” tracks the meteoric rise and tragic fall of the author who, in his final years, suffered from chronic alcoholism, serious mental illness, traumatic brain injuries and depression. In 1961, at the age of 61, Hemingway died by suicide, leaving behind an unparalleled body of artistic work and a complicated emotional legacy for those closest to him.