Mark Twain and Me (1991)

DailyView: Day 191, Movie 273

I have always been a fan of Mark Twain and I had wanted a proper biopic of the author for a long time. When I found the former TV film Mark Twain and Me on Disney +, I was excited to take a look.

Jason Robards played Samuel L. Clemens, aka Mark Twain after he met the young girl Dorothy Quick (Amy Stewart) on a cruise during the last few years of his life. The old man and the young teen formed a close bond and they spent many days together, breaking out of the morose and regrets that Clemens’ life had become filled with.

This is a true story based on the memoirs of novelist Dorothy Quick, published originally as “Enchantment.” I have always believed that the best biopics were the ones that took a section of the person’s life and focused in on in instead of covering the entire lifespan. This biopic does a wonderful job of that.

Robards was fantastic as Samuel Clemens (or SLC as he is referred to throughout the film by Dorothy) and Amy Stewart was solid in her first major role as Dorothy. The two of them had chemistry and had a natural surrogate father-daughter relationships. Dorothy was able to help Clemens reunite and appreciate the relationship he had with his actual daughter Jean (Talia Shire).

Though the film relied heavily on the positive messages of the story, it did not shy away from the tragedy that had filled Clemens’ life during this time, including the death of Jean and his aversion to Christmastime.

I would still like more biopics with Mark Twain at the center, but this one was a pleasant surprise tonight.

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