I think Fred Zinnemann is a great director but this is not one of his best films. His graceful technique doesn't fail him but the film's momentum seems engineered. Redgrave brings her unique and touching quirkiness and Fonda has her strength but they are at the service of artifical contrivances. At the end, I was bewildered.
Is it true? who knows...is Jane Fonda too pretty to be covincing as the homely Lillian Hellman? yes...and she gives one of her gutsiest performances. Helped by Jason Robards & Vanessa Redgrave, Fonda carries this film...it's also Fred Zinneman's last great movie.