Photo: Saostar
Mank is nominated for the movie with Best Picture in Oscar Awards. in Photo: Saostar

David Fincher’s Mank, a film about the creation of one of Hollywood’s most famous movies, is sweeping this year’s Golden Globes. With six nominations, the drama is getting plenty of attention months after its initial November release. Starring Gary Oldman and more, Mank follows Herman J. Mankiewicz’s process of writing Citizen Kane, according to Decider.

“Visually, the film is dangerously handsome, a winking pastiche to 1940s style and technique (including the visual cues in the corner of the screen telling the projectionist to switch reels, something a bunch of us learned about by watching Fincher’s Fight Club),” Decider’s John Serba wrote in his Mank movie review. “But Mank, the movie, is not an empty suit. It depicts the Hollywood products of the day as wondrous art (hint: they pretty much are), but it’s not at all nostalgic for the corrupt business ethics behind them, and that’s what makes Mank’s life’s work, a movie about the moral slide of the American upper crust, so vital.”

If you haven’t seen Mank yet, now’s the time to watch. Here’s what you need to know to watch the old Hollywood masterpiece:

Mank movie: Where and How to watch

Mank is a Netflix film, so you’ll only find it on Netflix. The drama is available exclusively on the streaming service, and it’s available to watch right now.

To watch Mank, you’ll need a subscription to Netflix. If you’ve already got one, just open the Netflix app or website and search for Mank, click play, and you’re good to go. If you don’t have a subscription to Netflix, you can sign up for one for as little as $8.99 per month for the basic plan, or up to $17.99 for a premium plan. Right now, Netflix does not offer free trials, but you can cancel at any time.

Mank movie: Cast

Photo: Netfli.cx
Photo: Netfli.cx

As reported by Deadline, the biopic has been a 20-year passion project for Fincher, who's come close to bagging an Oscar not once, but twice — in 2009 for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and again in 2011 for The Social Network. With Gary Oldman leading the cast and the likes of Amanda Seyfried and Lily Collins supporting, we couldn't be more excited to catch Mank when it lands on Netflix on Dec. 4. Catch the teaser trailer ahead and for the rest of the cast joining Oldman, Seyfried, and Collins, said Pop Sugar.

  • Gary Oldman as Herman J. Mankiewicz

  • Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies

  • Lily Collins as Rita Alexander, Herman's secretary, from whom Susan Alexander Kane gets her name.

  • Arliss Howard as Louis B. Mayer

  • Tom Pelphrey as Joseph L. Mankiewicz

  • Charles Dance as William Randolph Hearst

  • Sam Troughton as John Houseman

  • Ferdinand Kingsley as Irving Thalberg

  • Tuppence Middleton as Sara Mankiewicz

  • Tom Burke as Orson Welles

  • Joseph Cross as Charles Lederer

  • Jamie McShane as Shelly Metcalf, test shot director and Herman's friend.Although Metcalf is fictional, Felix E. Feist was the test shot director at MGM, who shot the propaganda films against Upton Sinclair that Metcalf shoots in Mank.

  • Toby Leonard Moore as David O. Selznick

  • Monika Gossmann as Fräulein Frieda, Herman's housekeeper

  • Leven Rambin as Eve, Metcalf's wife

  • Bill Nye as Upton Sinclair

  • Jeff Harms as Ben Hech

Mank movie: Plot

Photo: No Film School
Photo: No Film School

The main story—written by Fincher’s late father Jack Fincher, before his death in 2003—is based on the true story of screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, or Mank (played by Gary Oldman), who is working on his masterpiece for Orson Welles (Tom Burke), Citizen Kane in the year 1940. Welles, a hot-shot director, has arranged for Mankiewicz to stay in a house on the edge of the Californian desert, provided him with cigarettes, alcohol, and a British typist named Rita (Lily Collins). He expects a script in 60 days.

The film cuts back and forth between Mank writing Citizen Kane in 1940, and flashbacks to Mank’s career in Hollywood in the 1930s. You get some fun scenes of Mank and his screenwriter buddies pitching absurd stories on the Paramount lot. Then Mank drunkenly wanders onto the set of a film starring Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried) and scores a dinner with her lover, the powerful newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance), who would later become the inspiration for Citizen Kane. Only in Hollywood, baby!

But there is a third, more perplexing storyline in Mank: the 1934 California gubernatorial election. MGM studio execs L.B. Mayer (Arliss Howard) and Irving Thalberg (Ferdinand Kingsley) are concerned about a progressive Democrat named Upton Sinclair (Bill Nye), and so create a series of propaganda films for the Republican candidate. Mank disapproves of their methods, and—the movie suggests—used that experience as further inspiration for the character of Charles Foster Kane.

Is Mank worth watching?

It depends. Are you obsessed with Hollywood’s Golden Age? Did you fall in love with Citizen Kane the first time you watched it in Cinema Studies 101? Are you an Amanda Seyfried stan? If you answered “Yes” to all of those questions, then Mank is worth watching.

But if you answered “No” to one or more questions, then you might find that Mank is boring. The script is a bit of a mess, and though the film is only just over two hours, you start to feel the drag around Act 2. If you’re not up on your 1930s and ’40s Hollywood trivia, you may find that the names and references fly over your head.

The good parts of Mank—Seyfried’s performance, the homages to the era, and the cinematography—may outweigh the bad for some. It certainly seems to have outweighed the bad for the Academy, and that’s not surprising, given that the Academy is made up of folks in the movie industry. But if you’re not a hardcore cinephile, you may want to skip this one.

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