RWMFF 2013 Review: Running From Crazy (2013)
It’s one thing to be the granddaughter of one of the 20th century’s most well-known authors (Ernest Hemingway), but to also be a member of a family that’s had 7 suicides within just three generations is much more personally staggering. Talk about legacies.
Barbara Kopple’s (Harlan County USA and Shut Up and Sing) documentary Running From Crazy is an interesting survey of Hemingway family history through the eyes of actress/author Mariel Hemingway. Using news and media footage, and some revealing family photographs, videos and audio recordings, Kopple and Hemingway provide some interesting insight into a family life replete with dysfunction and substance abuse. But the bigger tragedy here is that they never discussed it. There were entire tracts of her own family history that Hemingway was not aware of until later in adulthood.
With two daughters of her own, Hemingway decided to change the conversation, to open it up and face it publicly. And Mariel Hemingway is incredibly open about her and her family’s struggles, her fears and foibles – and is a very busy public spokesperson on the topics of mental illness and suicide prevention. If the film occasionally seems to dip into the realm of a feature-length public service announcement, it can totally be forgiven. It has some important and difficult messages to impart.
If you’re looking for a romantic Hemingway biopic, this probably isn’t your film. Rather, Running From Crazy is one woman’s frank look at, and attempt to better understand, her family history of depression and mental illness.
Running From Crazy screens as part of the 2013 Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 6:45 pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the festival website.
Gallery of Images from Running From Crazy