Bothersome New York City high-school student Lisa Cohen (17), who consistently messes up her life and that of boy classmates, searches New York in vain for a fit cowboy hat to wear at an excursion with her separated father and stepmother. Spotting one on bus driver Maretti's head but failing to board, she stubbornly runs along and keeps claiming his confused attention, until the bus hits a blind senior, who is wounded fatally The NYPD quickly closes the case as an accident, but Lisa, duly consumed by guilt and spared any charge, starts bothering everyone and making a mean pest of herself, not only at home, as self-absorbed actress mother may deserve, but also in the precinct, tracking down the victim's uninterested kin out of town and even Maretti at home. A family friend lawyer gets involved in the case, digging in to compromising circumstances and causing real trouble to people who were of the hook. Written by
When Fox Searchlight and Gary Gilbert refused to pay anymore for a film that seemed like it would never be released during the post-production process, Kenneth Lonergan turned to childhood friend Matthew Broderick, who lent him some money to continue working on his project. See more »
There's a close-up shot of a New York Times article about the bus driver. The article says he works for the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The correct name is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. See more »
Because... this isn't an opera! And we are not all supporting characters to the drama of your amazing life!
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Margaret has 2 especially good things going for it. One is that it's written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, who did such a good job with You Can Count On Me. The latter had sharp, incisive, perceptive dialog which was at times laugh-out-loud funny. I didn't find myself laughing very often while viewing Margaret, but the dialog was just as sharp.
The other great thing in its favour is that it has Anna Paquin. I thought she was outstanding as the young child in The Piano, but haven't been over-impressed by anything I've seen her in since. Until Margaret, that is. The way she folds and involves the viewer into her exceedingly complex character was terrific, reminiscent of Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone.
The film itself is long, sometimes quite slow, but totally involving. I watched a couple of hours, thought I'd watch the rest the next night, then 10 minutes later turned it back on to watch the final hour. During most 90 minute films, I'm checking my watch to see how long there is to go, so this was a sure sign of how good a movie Margaret was.
I'm not sure I fully understand the movie. All of the characters are frail and their flaws easily come to the surface, which makes sympathizing with any of them too much somewhat difficult. But I guess that is the point - they're real people, like the rest of us. The child Curtis is probably the most sympathetic character. He's ignored by his mother, dismissed by his father, and seems to exist only as a source of irritation to Lisa. I guess that's a real situation too.
Margaret is a thought provoking film, that probably warrants a second viewing (all 3 hours of it - gulp) to pick up on its subtleties and nuances. I gave it 9/10.
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