TURN EVERY PAGE (2023)
Release Date: 03/03/23
Runtime: 112 Minutes
"Follows the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro and his editor, the literary giant Robert Gottlieb, in this chronicle of a unique 50-year professional relationship."
OUR DOCUMENTARY REVIEW:
Turn Every Page - The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb is a documentary about two men who have a long and at times contentious history together. Robert Caro is a revered and well respected author. He is most well-known for his biographies. In The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York Caro examines Moses’ life, work, and rise to power and prominence. His other famous books cover President Lyndon B. Johnson. Caro is still working to complete the fifth (and likely final) volume of this book series.
Much of Caro’s career has partnered him with prominent editor Robert (Bob) Gottlieb, a giant in the field of publishing. Even if you aren’t an avid reader, it is likely you have read or at the very least have heard of many of the books Gottlieb has edited. He has worked with big names like Bill Clinton, Toni Morrison, Nora Ephron, Bob Dylan, and of course Robert Caro.
Turn Every Page examines the relationship of these two men through interviews with those who know them best. Director Lizzie Gotlieb is the daughter of Robert Gottlieb, so there is some doubt to the truthfulness of what she presents. Neither Robert is shown in a bad light or is pushed to answer questions they might be uncomfortable talking about. It’s a somewhat surface level investigation but it proves to be a cheery and interesting ride for the entire 1 hour and 52 minutes. Lizzie Gottlieb explores each man’s childhood and upbringing. Both men were born in the 1930’s in New York and it is interesting to see early photos of them and hear about how they got their starts in the world of writing and publishing.
Telling the story of two men at the same time might have been difficult had their lives not been so intertwined. Hearing each man talk about their relationship is fascinating. There is a distinct and profound level of respect for the other, but there is also a bristly quality to their interactions. It’s clear they don’t always agree and both will fight to the death to make their point. Fellow colleagues and co-workers attest to the shouting matches that often ensue during an editing session.
Turn Every Page is incredibly entertaining, particularly for fans of Caro and Gottlieb. You get insights into how each works (Caro still uses a typewriter and Gottlieb only ever reads printed manuscripts) and why they love what they do. It’s clear that theirs is a love affair–one with writing and the other with reading. It seems like a match made in heaven and at the very end when you finally see the two men in the same room it becomes clear that it is.