HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Down a Dark Hall
Mixed Blood
4D Special Agents
Helldriver
One Hour to Zero
Battle of Billy's Pond, The
Terror in Beverly Hills
Zoo Robbery, The
Anoop and the Elephant
Adrift
Never a Dull Moment
McQueen
Ugly Duckling, The
Apostle
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Hereditary
Cup Fever
Peril for the Guy
3 Days in Quiberon
Club, The
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1
Pili
Suspect, The
Baxter!
Dead Night
Thoroughbreds
Ghost and the Darkness, The
Strike Commando
Molly
Full Alert
   
 
Newest Articles
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
   
 
  Margaret Little Miss TroubleBuy this film here.
Year: 2011
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Stars: Anna Paquin, J. Smith-Cameron, Mark Ruffalo, Jeannie Berlin, Jean Reno, Sarah Steele, John Gallagher Jr, Cyrus Hernstadt, Allison Janney, Kieran Culkin, Matt Damon, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Betsy Aidem, Adam Rose, Matthew Broderick, Olivia Thirlby
Genre: Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) is a seventeen-year-old schoolgirl at an expensive private school in New York City, and while she is intelligent she is not above cheating a little in exams, which one of her teachers, Mr Aaron (Matt Damon) talks to her about but doesn't get very far. She enjoys the cut and thrust of class debate, however, not backward about coming forward, and today one of her best friends Darren (John Gallagher Jr) asks her out, leaving her flattered but unsure of where to take this next. Then something happens which completely throws her off-balance: she was only trying to find a cowboy hat to wear for a horse riding trip with her father...

Before you say anything about Margaret, it was almost compulsory to point out the troubled production history it suffered, with the editing process taking over five years after the film had ended shooting in 2005. It seemed writer and director Kenneth Lonergan just couldn't get his act together in bringing the film to a satisfying conclusion, with the result it became a major headache in his career and an embarrassment to the studio that it took so long to even get one cut which was at least satisfying on some level as a story, never mind the two versions which were actually released. And even then, watching what they came up with remained frustrating, not least because by this stage it was a film whose time had passed.

Although bearing that in mind, when you did watch the longer, three hour edit you could see that Lonergan had been so intent on bringing as much of an experience of his main character's life to the screen as he possibly could that it still came across as needing work, and could easily have lasted another hour without feeling as if it was a fully realised picture. Watching it was like having a conversation with a genuinely interesting stranger who was telling you about their trials and tribulations, but then having fatigue set in and eventually wanting them in no uncertain terms to stop talking so you can both get on with your own lives. Yet the fact remained they were still engaging.

Much of that was down to the quality of the performances and the writing, which brought out the best in them all, in particular Anna Paquin whose depiction of a teenager struggling with responsibilities no one should really have to deal with was extremely painful to watch, but only because she so inhabited the character that she was almost too convincing. Lisa's world is not so much turned upside down as a long, dark shadow is cast over it when she is out shopping for that hat and catches sight of exactly what she wants on the head of a passing bus driver (Mark Ruffalo, star of Lonergan's previous, far less issue-fraught directorial effort). In trying to attract his attention, something truly awful happens that neither of them intended, but must blame themselves for ever after.

That scene is one of the strongest in the film, and it needed to be, as the driver doesn't notice the red light, hits a woman (Allison Janney), taking off her leg and killing her, though not before she has died in the distraught Lisa's arms. It's superbly acted, shocking and disturbing, yet it's as if Lonergan spent the rest of the movie, and indeed the rest of about six years, flailing as he tried to live up to it, so Lisa goes back to school, continues to stay with her divorced theatre star mother (J. Smith-Cameron, the director's wife), and so forth, but things have irrevocably changed, as if the accident has sent out ripples of pain through the souls of everyone in the film. Lisa insists on making poor choices, which you could put down to the crushing guilt she is unable to handle, and tests the audience's sympathy, but as you can see why she has ended up this way you can identify where she is compensating if not where she could improve. As Margaret (not named after a character) sprawls ever onwards, it impresses but fails to give shape to uncontrollable grief. Music by Nico Muhly.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 931 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Alexander Taylor
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: