Written and Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
US, 2011, 150 mins.
Available on DVD/BluRay/Amazon Instant
Movies shouldn't need a disclaimer, but sometimes the struggle involved in making and releasing a particular film leaves traces so evident in watching the thing, it becomes hard to imagine what viewers who don't know the backstory would think.
Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret is a film that bears such traces. Originally set for a 2006 release, Margaret was instead dogged by a spate of post-production problems. Lonergan reportedly angered studio bosses by taking too long to come up with a final cut, and the film languished, unfinished and in litigation, until a salvage-job cut was more or less buried in limited release last year. The version that hit theaters is unevenly paced, full of seemingly-bizarre tonal shifts and plot threads that appear to either arise from, or end up going, nowhere.
Yet, despite the film's missteps and not-quite-fulfilled ambitions, Margaret is a beautiful, masterfully acted and directed work of cinema.