Z: The Beginning of Everything
I love her, and that’s the beginning and end of everything.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald
By Jessica S. Manuel
Z: The Beginning of Everything is a television drama that is based on our book club pick this season: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. The series is named after a line in a letter that he wrote to his friend, Isabelle, who asked about why their engagement had been called off. He was heartsick over it, which was portrayed in Fowler’s novel as well. The pilot for this television series debuted on November 5, 2015 and the series continues this February. If you want to mark your calendars, Episode 2 is set to release on February 10, 2017. I just finished watching the pilot; it’s available to view on Amazon. I honestly didn’t expect it to be so good.
First of all, Christina Ricci plays an absolutely a convincing Zelda. She’s playful, complicated, and even performs boredom well in the first episode. If you read along with us, then you know the beginning of their love story is nothing but exciting. Zelda is young and uninhibited, and dismissive of rules and authority, whether they are established by her father or society.
Scott, on the other hand, is a bit more serious and reserved as he plays a soldier preparing for war. It is clear both Scott and Zelda are bored by the pool of romantic interests they have to choose from. None of their potential mates have read a book in quite some time or formed an opinion of their own about the world. The emphasis on intellectual vigor that characterizes their literary circle in New York and Paris later in life is part of what brings them together. While the performance of Scott was decent in this first episode and I can picture him acting out the emotional roller coaster we know to be their lives, the role was recast for whatever reason. We’ll have to wait until February to see if we find the new actor playing Scott convincing or not.
In previous posts, I’ve briefly mentioned the way the public eye views Zelda. Ernest Hemingway saw her as a negative influence on Scott’s performance as a writer. Their reputation as a couple was less than pristine. Infidelity, jealousy, and bitterness creeped in almost immediately. Movies like Midnight in Paris portray her as a little unhinged and even crazy. The well-known feud between her and Hemingway is also skated over. It’s almost as though this movie took every well-known characteristic of the writers, musicians, and artists of the jazz age and stereotyped them for the big screen. It would be a tragedy if this was the only picture left in people’s minds of these thinkers. Here is the moment Owen Wilson’s character meets the Fitzgeralds:
While there are biographies and other historical accounts of our favorite literary couple from the jazz age, the imaginative portrayal is far more exciting. Definitely check out Z: The Beginning of Everything. Be sure to like us on Facebook because as the debut gets closer, we’ll be sure to let our readers know where they can find the episodes.
Thanks for reading with us this fall. If you missed a post on Z, you can find them all HERE. We’ll be announcing our Winter read in a few short weeks, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for all the details.
Jessica S. Manuel earned her B.A. in English with an emphasis in Critical Theory and a minor in Theological Studies from The Master’s University. She went on to earn her M.A. in English (Literature) from San Francisco State University where she studied 19th-20th Century Literature with a special studies emphasis in Critical Theory. After examining the intersections of psychoanalysis and contemporary literature, she wrote her thesis on Haruki Murakami’s use of the unconscious in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. After finishing her degree, she continued her education at University of California, San Diego where she studied Teaching Adult Learners and literature. She offers online adult literature courses for life-long learners through Book Oblivion Academy and also teaches writing and literature courses at the college level.