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Spare a thought for the friends and family of David Foster Wallace. Not only did they lose the man to suicide, but they then had to watch his transformation, in popular culture, into a secular saint—the guy who does for people with depression what Puccini’s Mimi did for people with consumption.

This movie, based on journalist David Lipsky’s memoir of following the author on tour in the mid-90s, marks another step in that process, and it's worth mentioning that Wallace’s widow Karen Green (herself an excellent artist) has repudiated it. In places, the film does veer a little close to a common, dangerous trope of artist’s biopics, suggesting that Wallace’s great soul, not his malfunctioning brain, killed him.

And yet, like Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Capote, Jason Segel’s version of David Foster Wallace is as hard to stop watching as it would be mistaken to confuse him with the real guy.
On disc now. (Lionsgate)

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