Over the last few years, the Beat writers have infiltrated the big screen. In 2010, James Franco stared in a biopic about Allen Ginsberg entitled Howl, which focused on the obscenity trial surrounding the poem’s publication and Ginsberg’s publisher Lawrence Felinghetti/City Lights Press. The movie generally received positive reviews, and I also enjoyed it, specially for the film’s attention on literature and the ever-ending question of what constitutes literature. The film is less about Ginsberg’s wild life and more about the poem and its impact.
Then just last year, there was a film adaptation of On the Road, which had a limited release and mixed reviews. Now, there is a new movie out about the Beat generation entitled Kill Your Darlings. This one looks more promising than the other recent film adaptations of the Beat writers’ lives and work. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as a young Allen Ginsberg studying at Columbia, where he met William Burroughs, played by Ben Foster, Jack Kerouac, played by Jack Huston, and other writers associated with the movement. Specifically, the film focuses on the murder investigation that involved Ginsberg, his classmate Lucien Carr, and Burroughs. So far, the movie has earned positive reviews, and it should open to wider release soon. Here is a trailer: