(I) (2011)

Critic Reviews



Based on 27 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Ambitious, affecting, unwieldy and haunting, it's an eccentric, densely atmospheric, morally hyper-aware masterpiece that refuses to follow the strictures of conventional cinematic structure, instead leading the audience on a circuitous journey down the myriad rabbit holes that comprise modern-day Manhattan.
Who knows what movie Lonergan was searching for in all that footage? But what emerges from the tinkering and legal skirmishes is an occasional marvel, a kind of everyday highbrow social X-ray, Paul Mazursky by way of Krzysztof Kieslowski.
Margaret, for all its flaws, is a film of rare beauty and shocking gravity.
Margaret - titled after a poem - reflects its adolescent subject with striking accuracy. It can be frustrating and self-important, clumsy and naive. But it's also passionate, curious and filled with insight, so unafraid in its ambitions that even the flaws are interesting. Every bold vision requires respect; a few deserve celebration. This is one of them, imperfections and all.
It's not a film that's easy to love, but like a song you at first can't stand but then end up humming all day, it works its way past your defenses and curls in close.
A half hour before the finish, Margaret loses altitude and starts looking for a place, any place, to land. Instead it crashes, in slow motion. But up until then, Margaret is committed and unusual.
Besides Paquin, who delivers a once-in-a-lifetime performance as the maddeningly inconsistent Lisa, also wrenchingly fine are Jeannie Berlin as the best friend of the deceased and J. Smith-Cameron as Lisa's actress mother.
Lonergan's dialogue can sweep you up in a whoosh of personality and ideas, but it's hard to see what, apart from ego, convinced him that this story was so epic.
For a 90-minute movie, Margaret has a thin story. So it's unfortunate that it runs 2 1/2 hours.
Fine performances and bristling language compel in this overlong, often off-putting but well-observed New York story.
Kenneth Lonergan's new film, Margaret, finally released six years after it was shot, now seems destined to become part of film history as one of the more stunning examples of a filmmaker's sophomore slump.

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