Saturday, September 15, 2007

Evening


Based on Pulitzer prize winner Michael Cunningham novel, this Lajos Koltai second feature is an intense drama that will make you feel many things, that’s if you’re a woman, as I have to accept that this is a women story, with many good female characters played by one of the most outstanding female cast ever assembled for the big screen.

It tells the story of Ann Grant that is terminally ill and about to die. In her last days while suffering intense pain, she starts to recall the love of her life, Harris and everything that happened in one weekend where she was the bridesmaid to her best friend Lila. Her two daughters are along her side and learn for the first time about Harris, while Constance dismisses him as a dream, Nina is curious to learn more. So, the story goes back and forward between the 50’s and today and as there is drama in the past there is also drama in the present.

Are you ready for this cast? Here comes for the present: starring Vanessa Redgrave as Ann Grant, her real life daughter Natasha Richardson as her daughter Constance, Toni Collette as Nina and none other than Meryl Streep as Lila Witternborn her longtime friend. For the past we have Claire Danes as young Ann, Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep real life daughter) as young Lila Wittenborn and Glenn Close as Mrs. Wittenborn Lila’s mother. Okay there are some male actors, but who cares with this outstanding female cast that has two generations of actors and more Oscar awards and nominations than any movie I think of? My only regret is not being able to see all of them acting together, that would have been just great.

Even if her role as Lila is quite short I think that Meryl Streep stole the movie, she’s so darn good that even with the few lines and scenes her strong screen presence makes this movie totally must be seen. Vanessa Redgrave has a difficult part as the dying matron, but she delivers and for an obvious reason I could not stop thinking how hard was for Natasha Richardson to play the daughter of her dying mother. Toni Collette is great and Glenn Close has a small but strong performed role. Claire Danes was acceptable, but with a few notorious exceptions, I feel that she is always missing something. Mamie Gummer was acceptable and I think is the first time I see her in the big screen as an adult, as I think she was in the movie The House of Spirits when she was a child.

You will shed a tear or two, but not more than that as the mixture of romance and drama from the past makes the movie easier to watch.

Even if the story is a slice of “Americana” the movie does not feel totally American, perhaps is due to the vision that Hungarian director Lajos Koltai gave to the story, the magnificent cinematography, plus the well-developed characters in the screenplay. So, once again I think this movie is not for all audiences, but is a must be seen for every woman in the world that want to see mother/daughter relationships, female friendship, sisters relationship and romance with handsome Patrick Wilson that at moments looks like a young Paul Newman.

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