I have never read any of Ernest Hemingway’s novels. Not a one. But, I know his story. I know his life as a writer and have identified with much of it. Papa: Hemingway in Cuba focuses on the friendship that develops between a young Miami newspaper reporter and his idol, Ernest Hemingway, during the Cuban revolution in 1959.

Story: This is a very singular story. It is isolated in a short period of time and inside Ernest Hemingway’s compound. The writers do a good job of capturing Hemingway’s world; Personality, psyche and mania. For those of us who are writers, the manic nature of sitting at a typewriter and creating prose is well defined. Spot on. They capture the creative genius of Hemingway and its effect on his wife, his friends and his legacy.

Performances: Giovanni Ribisi plays the young reporter from Miami; Joely Richardson as his wife, Mary Welsh Hemingway and Adrian Sparks as Ernest Hemingway. Because this is such an isolated story, it’s also one of those movies with a very small cast. Most scenes only involve the above. But, their performances are strong. Not Oscar strong in that small but powerful performance way, but, strong

Visual: Beautiful. While Cuba was under siege at the time, the landscape of the country was still scenic. And most of the movie is set at Hemingway’s compound outside Havana. The costume are apropos as sometimes they were wearing nothing and living a lavish but bohemian lifestyle.

The final word for Papa: Hemingway in Cuba: B-. This film hits me in all the right spots because I’m a manic writer too. But, if you’re just an average moviegoer, this is likely not the film for you. Even attempting to write this review was difficult because I’m trying to explain why this movie makes sense. But it doesn’t. Skip it unless you have some connection to Ernest Hemingway and his work…