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

“Turn Every Page” is a 2022 documentary, directed by Lizzie Gottlieb on the 50-year collaboration between legendary writer Robert Caro and his equally iconic editor, Robert Gottlieb​​​​​​.

This doc is so good it ranks #1 on my 13 Best Documentaries on the Creative Process

“Turn Every Page” Trailer

“Turn Every Page” Review (warning: spoilers!)

Think of the “Two Bobs” as the “Batman and Robin” of the literary world.

Caro, with his monumental works like “The Power Broker” and “The Years of Lyndon Johnson,” is the caped crusader diving deep into the crevices of political power.

Gottlieb, on the other hand, is the ultimate “Robin” sidekick, backing up Caro when he gets into trouble (hint: it’s usually too many words and semi colons).

Gottliebis a bit “Alfred” too as he molds Batman’s gadgets for max effect.

They’re not just a team; they’re a force​​.

Their relationship, though, isn’t your typical buddy movie stuff.

They don’t hang out or swap stories over coffee.

When they meet, it’s all business, with Caro bringing his manuscript pages, and Gottlieb ready with his editor’s scalpel​​.

And there better be a pencil. Always a pencil!

Caro’s journey as a writer started with his investigation into Robert Moses, the man who shaped modern New York.

Power Broker was a towering two-foot-tall stack of1,050,000 (yes, that’s 1 million+) words at first. That’s bigger than the bible!

It was so big that the Knopf (the book publisher) was worried the spine would not support it.

Enter Gottlieb. He had to whittle it down to 750,000 words. The 250,000 words cut are equivalent to 2 to 3 John Grisham Books.

The result? “The Power Broker,” a book that’s now a staple in political science classes and a backdrop in many a Zoom interview for the well-read pundit​​.

Caro’s wife, Ina, is his sole researcher and confidante. Gottlieb’s wife, Maria Tucci, supports his unique hobbies, like collecting Lucite handbags.

It’s a testament to the support systems behind these literary giants​​.

Caro doesn’t f*ck around on the research. For Power Broker, he did 520 interviews! For the LBJ books, he moved into the Texas Hills where LBJ grew up…for THREE years.

Gottlieb’s editing philosophy is akin to a master chef – it’s not about changing the recipe but enhancing the flavors. He’s the Gordon Ramsay of the literary world, minus the yelling.

Caro’s meticulous, immersive storytelling, brought to life by Ethan Hawke’s readings in the film, and Gottlieb’s empathetic editing make for a compelling combination​​.

The doc ends on a tantalizing note. The final scenes show Caro and Gottlieb at work, with the sound off, preserving the sanctity of their creative process.

It’s like the season finale cliffhanger of your favorite show. You’re left wanting more, eagerly awaiting the next volume of Caro’s work on Lyndon B. Johnson​​.

“Turn Every Page” is a must-watch for literary buffs and for anyone intrigued by the creative process.

It’s a story of partnership, dedication, and the unyielding pursuit of excellence. It’s like the collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro, but in the realm of words, not film.

This doc is a tribute to two men whose work has, and will, stand the test of time.

Streaming “Turn Every Page”

You can watch Turn Every Page on:

A full list of streaming options is at https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/turn-every-page-the-adventures-of-robert-caro-and-robert-gottlieb

Thanks for reading!

-Rob Kelly