Tag: Annette Bening


The Seagull

May 4th, 2018 — 6:07am

*****

The Seagull

This classic Chekhov story became fascinating movie with an excellent screenplay by Stephen Karam, very skillful directing by Michael Mayer, superb musical background Nico Muhly and Anton Sanko and of course an outstanding cast. This group of mostly veteran actors and actresses were top notch. They include Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle (his first film), Corey Stoll, Elisabeth Moss, Mare Winningham, Jon Tenney, and Brian Dennehy.

Chekhov and his team, which adapted his work, examine human interaction and emotion in what could be a class for students of human behavior. In particular, Ms. Bening’s character, Irina, is a textbook example of narcissistic character where her self-love ultimately destroys herself and her son. Also, there is a fascinating and penetrating study with multiple examples of unrequited love and the pain which this almost universal experience can bring. If you like this type of a psychological study, you will find this cinematic experience to be quite captivating. (2018).

 

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama, Romance

Film Stars Don’t DIe in Liverpool

December 20th, 2017 — 4:27am

**

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

This film is an example of really great acting by the two leads who both captured the personality of their interesting characters, but in our opinion the movie experience fell flat and did not hold our interest.

The movie is based on a true story about a well-known movie actress, Gloria Grahame, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress in 1947. She had four marriages and four children from three of her husbands. She apparently was very “young at heart” as her husbands’ tended to be on the younger side and one of them was a stepson of an ex-husband.

This movie was about Grahame’s last relationship, which was with a young actor, Peter Turner, who wrote the book upon which the screenplay by Matt Greenhalgh was based. Turner was played by Jamie Bell and Gloria Grahame was played by Annette Bening. The story encompasses the time of their relationship with flashbacks to when they met and we follow her in failing health, which we are introduced to as the film opens. (You need not be concerned, as the heroine does not die in Liverpool.) Director Paul McGuigan used period music to establish various moods of the film. Bening showed the appeal, which made us understand why the younger man was drawn to her. A supporting cast of Julie Walters, Kenneth Cranham, Stephen Graham, Frances Barber, and even a brief stint by Vanessa Redgrave where as they were excellent as they should be.

The premise of the film held interesting promise. It provided some understanding of the feelings and chemistry of both characters. But in the end, we found the movie lacking and we were not sufficiently touched or moved to urge our readers to put it on your list of films to see. (2017)

Comment » | 2 Stars, Drama

20th Century Women

January 26th, 2017 — 11:21pm

***

20th Century Women-rm

This movie is set in the 1970s and examines the relationship between a single divorced mother and her only child, a 15-year-old son. It takes place in Santa Barbara, a coastal town North of Los Angeles. While we were raising teenagers on the East Coast during these years, there was little that we could relate to other than perhaps the music of Talking Heads playing in the background and the fact that parents can never fully understand their teenage children. However, it is the latter point that becomes the essence of this movie.

Annette Bening plays Dorothea, the mother in a role which she has already been nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She has decided that she can never teach a son what he needs to know about women and life so she asks Julie (Elle Fanning), a slightly older teenage girl who is her son’s friend and Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a few years older young woman who boards in their house to develop a dialogue with Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) and teach him what she was unable to do. There is also William (Billy Crudup) another boarder in the house who typifies a 1970s young man in his 30s. Jamie for the most part seems to be doing fine but it is mom who is having trouble negotiating her stage of life. Credit goes to Director Writer Michael Mills for capturing the atmosphere of this period piece with flashes of old cars, Jimmy Carter, uninhabited coastal views, 1970’s music, chain smoking of cigarettes, and discussion about the female orgasm.

Most viewers of this movie should find some meaningful identification whether it jogs memories of the 1970s or the universal dilemmas of negotiating certain stages of life. We are not sure it is worth sitting through the entire film (2016)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

Face of Love

March 26th, 2014 — 8:23pm

***Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 11.56.52 PM

Face of Love– rm- This movie stands out because of it’s very unique storyline. Niki’s  (Annette Bening) deeply loved husband (Ed Harris) drowns while they are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in a lovely resort in Mexico.  5 years later the long grieving wife sees a man, Tom (also Ed Harris of course) who looks exactly like her husband and manages to meet him and develop a relationship. To her, it is reuniting with her deceased husband but to him it is an opportunity to fall in love which he has not felt since his wife left him 10 years before. The mood of this film written by Matthew McDuffie and Director Arie Posin  hovers between a spooky supernatural tale and a story of crazed woman holding on to her fantasy. Bening does a magnificent job of the conflicted wife torn apart by her struggle with reality. The potential of art and painting to convey emotion and the symbolic nature of water as being deadly but also eternal are the backdrops of the plot. Will the widowed neighbor (Robin Williams) who has a crush on the widow next door recognize the appearance of her new boyfriend ? What will happen when the daughter returns from college and confronts the spitting image of her deceased father? A haunting musical score by Marcelo Zarvos carries the film and has the potential to bring out those primitive emotions in the audience as we try to imagine the resolution of the story. (2014)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

Mother and Child

September 8th, 2010 — 12:52pm

Mother and Child* * * *
Mother and Child
– sp – Over the years I have either personally known people or treated individuals in therapy who yearned for a connection with a biological parent whom they never knew. Some actually had the opportunity for such meeting in their adult life. They were able to tell quite remarkable stories of this reunion of the adopted child and the biological parent which often involved meeting other relatives. Screenwriter and Director Rogrigo Garcia had been working on a movie script on this subject for over ten years. He used his penchant for being able to tell multiple stories which effectively blend together as well as his skill in creating rich woman characters. The result is an interesting film which examines many facets of the emotional experience of giving up or not giving up a a new born for adoption as well as the long term impact on mother and child when the two do separate. The story originally centers on Karen (Annette Bening) who at the age of 14 gave up daughter for adoption 34 years previously . However, her phantasies about the daughter are never far from her mind. The daughter Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) is self motivated successful attorney with no intention of every settling down with a man although she freely seduces them. She seems embittered by the fact that her own biological mother never tracked her down. Lucy (Kerry Washington) rounds out the trio of the main women characters and is a woman determined to adopt a child so she and her husband can have a family. The study of the mother child relationships is complimented by the mothers of Karen and especially that of Lucy (Epatha Merkerson) . Samuel Jackson and Jimmy Smits play parts contrary to their often tough guy roles as in this case they are sensitive caring men. The evolution of the characters and the depth of their emotions experienced in this movie brings to light the enduring bond that flows between so many ( but not all ) mothers and their children. (2010)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

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