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Martin Eden

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Italy, France, Germany · 2019
2h 9m
Director Pietro Marcello
Starring Luca Marinelli, Jessica Cressy, Vincenzo Nemolato, Marco Leonardi
Genre Drama, Romance

Loosely adapted from a 1909 Jack London novel, but set in Italy at a provocatively unspecified moment during Italian history. This gorgeous narrative follows a self-taught proletarian who dreams of becoming a writer and rising above his low station to marry a rich young university student.

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The Playlist by

Marcello brilliantly captures the circular nature of the perpetual expanse between the working class and the elite in the dense characterization of his subjects and the dialogue surrounding the rejection of Martin’s early writing.


The A.V. Club by Beatrice Loayza

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


The Hollywood Reporter by Boyd van Hoeij

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.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

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.


Slant Magazine by Greg Cwik

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.


Variety by Jay Weissberg

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.


Chicago Tribune by Katie Walsh

Pietro Marcello’s sweeping historical Italian epic Martin Eden is a whole lot of movie. It possesses a weight and heft, both cinematically and philosophically, that make it a rare treat. And at the center of the film is a whole lot of movie star: Luca Marinelli’s performance in the title role is an outstanding star turn for the Italian actor.


Screen Daily by Lee Marshall

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.


Movie Nation by Roger Moore

This meandering Pietro Marcello (“Lost and Beautiful”) film seems to exist out of time, a fictional “struggling artist” biography as rife with cliches as it is obtuse in story and message.


Boston Globe by Ty Burr

The tragedy of this grand and artful movie is that the individuality Martin craves to make him stand out leaves him in the end standing very much alone.

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