Cherry Jones, Bobby Cannavale and Daniel Radcliffe (Photo Caitlin McNaney)
In the name of accuracy, a piece of reporting goes through a fact-checking process that roots out fabrication and plagiarism. A writer may try to deny what the fact checker turns up. The one in the witty The Lifespan of a Fact does that, and the editor is forced to intervene. With the magazine’s deadline on Monday the article must be fact checked over the weekend.

To study for his role, Daniel Radcliffe embedded with The New Yorker’s brilliant fact-checking team, much to their delight. Radcliffe makes a credible journalist, no mean feat, who gets so far into the article that he can propose a different lede and better title, which his editor approves.

As the editor, Cherry Jones is a boss. (Did Cherry Jones embed at The New Yorker too?) Her bristling “Norman Mailer” (Bobby Cannavale) turns out to live in a seedy apartment in Las Vegas that he shared with his mother until she died, in her chair.

Cannavale’s monologue about the chair is an unexpected tearjerker—and makes you question your own hold on truth. “I’m not interested in accuracy,” his writer says. “I am not beholden to every detail.” However, the sources for his feature article on deadline are “the homeless lady” and “the woman at the Aztec Bar.”

You’d think these three stunning actors could camp it up more. Directed to play it straight, perhaps it’s a given, because the ending will have the hairs standing on the back of your neck.

Hurry to see Lifespan of a Fact before it closes, and while Time magazine honors the noble journalist as their Person of the Year.

Frank Sinatra is the soundtrack at 21.
In Hitchcock's “Rear Window,” Grace Kelly orders lobster carryout from 21 Club to share with wheelchair-bound photojournalist James Stewart. In “Sweet Smell of Success,” memorable for such lines as “I love this dirty town!” the talent agent and gossip columnist played by Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster cut deals at 21. The restaurant is in more classic Hollywood movies than any other. Few restaurants come with higher expectations.

The food is good. To be specific, better than average. Truth is, we’ve been there but once, for the lunch special, not for the long menu that lists Dover sole for $76. In fact, that price is an anomaly, but how can one truly enjoy the perfectly fine prix-fixe salmon against the looming possibility of that stupendous Dover sole? The best part was that our kind old waiter could tell us exactly where Joan Rivers used to sit.

Cast iron jockeys at the entrance to 21 Club were facing sideways, until someone noticed in “All About Eve” that when Margo Channing, Bette Davis, rolls up to 21 Club, the jockeys are facing the street. Today, the jockeys face the street.