World-renowned book editor Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth) at Charles Scribner's Sons Publishing in New York City oversees works from such legends as F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce) and Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West).
He's given a massive manuscript written by unknown writer Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) and is told that every publishing house in New York has turned it down. He begins reading it and the words speak to him. He brings Wolfe in and tells him he'll publish it, but explains that it needs to be heavily edited. Wolfe, an unusual personality who takes over a room when he walks into it, agrees.
The book requires many hours of work and Max involves Tom at every step, which makes Max's married lover, Mrs. Aline Bernstein, more than a little jealous. She becomes unbalanced, but Tom believes his work is more important than anything and he hurts not only her, but also Max in his quest for immortality.
Based on the biography "Max Perkins: Editor of Genius" by A. Scott Berg.