Before the movie PULP FICTION, there were novels called pulp fiction. These were quickly written adventure stories of virile men who rescued half-naked women in dangerous situations, and these books were very popular in the 1930s. One of the leading authors of this genre was Robert E. Howard, a Texan who penned stories of CONAN and RED SONJA, among many others. In the 1970s, many scholars began examining the pulp fiction novels and their creators. Outlandish stories came forth which painted Robert E. Howard as a monster and a social recluse. In 1988, one woman, a school teacher named Novalyne Price, came forward and published her story of her unfulfilled but intense love affair with Howard during the 1930s.
THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD examines the relationship of Novalyn, played by JERRY MAGUIRE’s Renee Zellweger, and Robert, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, who recently starred in FEELING MINNESOTA. The two meet in 1933 through Novalyne’s former boyfriend, Clyde. Novalyne, always wanted to meet Robert because she wants to be a writer though she teaches school. Their attraction is immediate, but Novalyne objects to Robert’s slovenly dress and his anti-social manner. Novalyne also becomes very bothered at his constant attention to his ailing mother.
Nevertheless, she is fascinated by his imagination and his daring speech. While others find it hard to understand Robert or think of him as strange, Novalyne sticks by him closely. She loves to hear him talk about his latest stories. Robert shows immediate interest in Novalyne , but he makes it clear to her that he was not the marrying kind. He doesn’t want to be tied down to anyone. Thus, Novalyne begins to look to other men for courtship, including Robert’s friend Truett.
When Robert finds out about Truett, he becomes enraged and says hurtful things to Novalyne. Novalyne and Robert don’t see each other for many months. Robert leaves town, but when he returns, he tries to re-establish a relationship with Novalyne . She breaks some sad news: she was accepted by Louisiana State University in their master teacher program and has to leave town. Robert begs her to stay, but she realizes that she has to go. Her love for Robert is only exceeded by her knowledge that he is not ready or suitable for marriage. Finally, at LSU, Novalyne gets some shocking news from home that leaves her devastated and quiet about her relationship with Robert until the 1980s.
THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD is earmarked by two solid acting performances by the leads. Renee Zellweger particularly shows a wide range of emotion. In fact, she was chosen to act in JERRY MAGUIRE because of her performance here. This movie focuses most of its time on the two and goes deep into their shared interests and personal differences. It is a probing examination of deep love that is not requited. Novalyne is excited and repulsed by Robert’s brutish nature. Robert knows that Novalyne is a lady, but he refuses to join her for social functions. They are polar ends of a magnet, attracted to each other, but unable to meet or agree. It is painful and sad to watch.
Robert, indeed, is a despicable character. In one scene, he gives Novalyne a book containing engravings of naked women dancing on a pirate ship. Compared to many other people of his day and region, he also used many obscenities and profanities, making this movie PG-13 material. These factors are the summation of all the objectionable material of this movie. Despite writing about sordid romantic lives, he practices sexual restraint with Novalyne. He even waits a full year before he kisses her. He also has a sense that his lifestyle and profession were not normal and maybe even immoral.
Though set in the 1930s, this movie is not nostalgic, but merely historical. This movie demonstrates a romance unfulfilled due to varying personalities and societal expectations. In the final analysis, this is a low-key, but well performed, romantic drama with a few objectionable elements.
(Ro, B, C, Pa, LLL, N, A, D, M) Romantic worldview with moral elements including references to prayer & reading the Bible & pagan elements including descriptions of godless heroes rescuing women; 33 obscenities (mostly d*mn) & 15 profanities; some sexual talk; engraving of naked woman; alcohol use; smoking; and, rebellious attitudes
THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD examines the entire relationship of school teacher Novalyne Price and writer Robert E. Howard, who penned the CONAN stories and RED SONIA. Novalyne wants to meet Robert because she always wanted to be a writer though she teaches school. Their attraction is immediate, but Novalyne objects to Robert’s slovenly dress and his anti-social manner. Nevertheless, she is fascinated by his imagination and his daring speech. While others can’t understand Robert or think of him as strange, Novalyne sticks by him. When Robert makes it clear that he doesn’t want to marry, Novalyne begins to look to other men, enraging Robert and resulting in tragedy.
THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD is earmarked by two solid acting performances by the leads, Renee Zellweger and Vincent D’Onofrio. It is a probing examination of deep love that is not completed. Robert is a despicable character, using many obscenities and giving Novalyne dirty books, while Novelyne is a moral woman. Though set in the 1930s, this movie is not nostalgic but merely historical. This movie demonstrates a romance unfulfilled due to varying personalities and societal expectations. In the final analysis, this is a low-key, but well performed, romantic drama with a few objectionable elements