And listen: I didn't love it. Which isn't a bad thing! I actually thought it was incredibly engaging and surprisingly swift for 150 minutes. Not to mention the acting, writing, and the score (shout-out to Nico Muhly's incredible work) were all top-notch. Yet people are throwing around the dirty 'M' word with regards to this film and I just don't think it quite reaches it. Perhaps Lonergan's original much longer cut is, and I wouldn't be surprised, but this feels incomplete.
Yet it can't be the running time of 150 minutes, can it? Well I'm here to tell you bitches that I think it is. With the amount of characters, relationships, and turmoil going on throughout the film's running-time, it's very easy to see why Lonergan had a much longer cut. This is an ambitious work, and one I wish that the studio had let run rampant. If Fox Searchlight is so excited to put out Malick's The Tree of Life--while shorter is MUCH more ambitious and feels much longer--I am surprised that they'd be so reticent to let this film's run-time go past 150 mins. I think it would've needed just a bit more room to breathe.
|Our protagonist Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin)|
In particular, J. Smith-Cameron as Lisa's mother Joan really stood out for me. She's such a commanding screen presence, and so warm. Everyone is raving about Jeannie Berlin as Emily--who has two really amazing moments--but I found her shoe-horned comedic relief very eye-roll inducing in a few different instances. The person I kept wanting to return to was Smith-Cameron, and I would watch the film many more times just to experience that again.
|Lisa (Anna Paquin) and Joan (J.Smith-Cameron) Cohen|
GRADE: A-/B+ (I just can't decide!)