Director James Ponsoldt's biopic of author David Foster Wallace is set during the 1996 book tour for his magnum opus, Infinite Jest. But the film is really about the tension between interviewer and subject. It's based on journalist David Lipsky's nonfiction book, which he released after Wallace's suicide in 2008, about spending five days interviewing Wallace on that Midwestern tour. The film repeatedly informs us of Wallace's genius without providing much evidence for it. Comedic actor Jason Segel channels his idiosyncratic personality as someone ill at ease with fame but cognizant of its spoils. Jesse Eisenberg plays Lipsky, an aspiring great-novelist who is frustrated by Wallace's self-effacement. Whether his aw-shucks exterior was genuine or affected is an intriguing riddle the film skirts but fails to answer.
Director: James Ponsoldt
Writer: David Lipsky
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Segel, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, Mamie Gummer, Mickey Sumner, Ron Livingston and Lindsey Elizabeth
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