Mariel Hemingway’s “Running from Crazy”

About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after. Ernest Hemingway

You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, winter light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason. A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway

Mariel Hemingway has written a new movie called “Running from Crazy.” It’s her documentary about the Hemingway legacy of mental illness and its common outcome: suicide.

Mariel
Mariel

I have not seen it yet. I’m feeling hostile to it although I’m not sure why. I like Mariel Hemingway very much.  She perseveres; she tries to live healthy; she seems honest. Perhaps I’m feeling the negative vibe of this movie and not liking that. It’s about bad stuff that seems inescapable, predestined.

Mariel never knew her grandfather and there is no question that depression was a part of his make-up.  Suicide seems not only to run in the family but in those around Hem. Martha Gellhorn killed herself when in ill health. Adriana Ivancich, his muse, killed herself in despair. Siblings of Hem killed themselves. But is depression “crazy”?   Is not suicide perhaps the recognition that for yourself, tomorrow is just not bearable? It’s as sad as sad gets, but is it crazy? I don’t know. Maybe. Mental illness covers a broad spectrum.

Depressed or crazy?
Depressed or crazy?

I also read that Mariel is claiming in this movie documentary that her father, Jack, may have molested her older sisters, Muffet and Margaux. She then notes that he likely would not remember due to alcohol use/abuse and that he is not evil.(Apparently, Mariel’s mother also was an alcohol abuser.) I don’t know what to make of this: benign abuser/ non-evil molester?

Jack Hemingway
Jack Hemingway

Muffet has manic schizophrenia and is institutionalized; Margaux killed herself. There is apparently extraordinary video footage of Margaux as she made a documentary about her famous grandfather including interviews of her father. Those videos are movies within a movie in Mariel’s film.

Margaux Hemingway
Margaux Hemingway

By all accounts, Jack was a very nice man–outdoorsy, fisherman. I’ve heard the alcoholic portion before but not the abuser accusation. I’ll need to see the film to see if there is proof or some vague speculation. It’s unfair to the film to critique it without a viewing. I will see it and report back.  Anyone who has seen it already, jump in please.

It is all unsettling. Family secrets are damaging and if Mariel has the proof, and wishes to expose, then I say expose away. There is little more heinous than child molesting. I’ll see the movie and hope you do. Come to your own conclusions. I hope it sheds light on the Hemingway history and true story of their saga and curse. Let me know what you thought.

Margaux and Mariel in Lipstick (the movie)
Margaux and Mariel in Lipstick (the movie)
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