Hailed as one of the most distinguished families in American literature, the Hemingways have always exposed both their bright brilliance and their harrowing secrets. Two-time Academy Award winner and the only person to sweep all three of the Sundance Film Festival’s documentary awards for American Dream, Barbara Kopple focuses her newest film on Mariel Hemingway, a granddaughter of the legendary writer Ernest, as she explores her family’s disturbing history of mental illness and suicide. As a youngster, Mariel followed her supermodel sister, Margaux, into the acting world. Critics immediately praised Mariel’s natural talent, which created a deep rift between the sisters.
Kopple’s bold portrait of the Hemingways intertwines haunting archival footage from Margaux’s personal family documentary with scenes from Mariel’s life today as she advocates for suicide prevention and strives to live a rigorously healthy lifestyle to combat what appears to be her birthright. Mariel’s courageous journey of acceptance and introspection allows her to view her family and turbulent upbringing through new eyes and, for the first time, accept them with a peaceful heart. - R. K.
About the Director
Barbara Kopple is the two-time Academy Award–winning director and producer of Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) and American Dream (1991), which remains the only film to sweep the Sundance Film Festival’s documentary award categories. Her other documentaries include Gun Fight (2011), The House of Steinbrenner (2010), Woodstock: Now & Then (2009), Shut Up & Sing (2006), My Generation (2000), A Conversation with Gregory Peck (1999), Wild Man Blues (1997), and Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson (1993). She also directed Havoc, a narrative feature film starring Anne Hathaway, in 2005.
Cast and Credits
Director: Barbara Kopple
Executive Producers: Barbara Kopple, Erica Forstadt, Lisa Erspamer, Oprah Winfrey
Producers: Barbara Kopple, David Cassidy
Associate Producers: Madeleine Akers, Kelly Brennan
Cinematographers: Andrew Young, Boone Speed, Michael Call
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