“Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb”


Metacritic (7/10), Letterboxd (3.5/5), Imdb.com (7/10)

As an ardent movie lover and a seasoned writer/editor, one might naturally assume that this release would be a film right up my alley. Yet, after watching director Lizzie Gottlieb’s third documentary feature, a chronicle of the life, work and professional relationship between author Robert Caro and editor Robert Gottlieb, I came away from it with decidedly mixed feelings. To its credit, the film provides an insightful look into the worlds of writing and editing and the sometimes-harmonious, sometimes-contentious marriage between the two in producing finished works of literature, enabling viewers to witness the collaborative intricacies and mindsets that go into this highly subjective process. It also examines the depth of the work involved in researching and shaping the contents of these projects so that they’re able to live up to their literary and commercial potential. And these aspects of the film effectively capture the essence of this material, something to which I and other authors/editors can certainly relate. However, whether this level of detail would appeal to the average moviegoer is another matter; it’s niche filmmaking to an extreme degree, and I can’t help but wonder if this offering would provide much of anything engaging to anyone beyond the aforementioned core audience and those who have an insatiable curiosity about this subject. Obviously that’s a call that would be out of my hands, yet I’m still somewhat reluctant to give a definitive recommendation or caution about this film. No matter which way one leans, I must say that I found the picture somewhat overlong, sometimes going into greater detail than even I was interested in, something that I could see being a criticism other viewers might hold as well. And the use of the word “adventures” in the subtitle is something of an overstatement. Undoubtedly, however, there will be those who absolutely love this release, though I can’t say how widespread that audience would be. So, in light of that, let me just say that this one is very much one of those “you decide” offerings. And, no matter which way you lean, you’d be right.