Cinema: Joe Gould's Secret

Directed by Stanley Tucci

In 1942, Joseph Mitchell (Tucci), a revered New Yorker writer, published an article about Joe Gould (Ian Holm), a Greenwich Village Bohemian who claimed to be writing a history of the world millions of words long. Twenty-two years later, Mitchell admitted that Gould's manuscript, except for a few fragments, didn't exist. Thereafter Mitchell could be heard typing in his office every day, but he never published another word. There's a great story here, but Tucci's literate, civilized, wistful movie lacks savage impulse and refuses to show how mutual exploitation led to minor tragedy.

--By Richard Schickel

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