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Review: Mariel Hemingway is rawly honest in 'Running From Crazy'

Actress Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, talks family, mental health in documentary 'Running From Crazy.'

November 07, 2013|By Annlee Ellingson
  • Mariel Hemingway in a scene from "Running From Crazy."
Mariel Hemingway in a scene from "Running From Crazy." (Handout )

Mariel Hemingway mines her famous family's history in "Running From Crazy," exploring the legacy left by her iconic grandfather Ernest — one of creative heights and emotional lows. By Mariel's count, she's lost seven relatives to suicide, and having experienced depression and suicidal thoughts herself, she's embarked on a holistic health campaign to rescue herself and her daughters from the same fate.

At once short on details and incredibly forthcoming, Barbara Kopple's documentary doesn't dig into specifics about Mariel's personal struggles with mental illness nor the WillingWay lifestyle that she and her boyfriend Bobby Williams espouse. (Thankfully, the film doesn't devolve into a thinly veiled self-help video.) She is, however, rawly honest about her feelings about her sisters — Muffet, who was legitimately mentally ill, and supermodel Margaux, who resented her little sister's acting success. The film lingers on a protracted altercation with Bobby as well.

Kopple mixes such scenes from Mariel's everyday life with archival interviews with her sisters and footage from a film Margaux made about their family. The result is unfocused but impressionistic, offering if not a clear picture, then a clear sense of Mariel's ambivalence about her inheritance, including a bombshell accusation about sexual abuse in her immediate family.


"Running From Crazy"

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Playing: Sundance Sunset Cinema, Los Angeles; Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena.


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