Set in 1930s London, this movie involves stage actors and actresses and their experiences with love and revenge.Set in 1930s London, this movie involves stage actors and actresses and their experiences with love and revenge.Set in 1930s London, this movie involves stage actors and actresses and their experiences with love and revenge.
Being Annette Bening
Concerned that her career may be on the decline, a middle aged theatre actress initiates an affair with a much young admirer who may just be using her in this jovial blend of comedy and drama based on a Somerset Maugham novel. Best known for Annette Bening's Oscar nominated performance, Bening is expectedly solid as the Margot Channing-like title character, though Jeremy Irons holds his own quite well as her aloof husband, spurting droll witticisms, and Michael Gambon is also superb as her deceased mentor who now coaches her every so often in spirit. Gambon's role is quite interesting as he represents a constant audience that Bening seems to imagine herself having (commenting on how well she is steering conversations) but the film may have benefited from using him more consistently throughout since he occasionally feels like a plot device. The film also culminates in an on-stage revenge pay-off that never quite seems as funny as it could have been (think 'Noises Off...'), however, generating laughs is not all that screenwriter Ronald Harwood and 'Mephisto' director István Szabó have in mind. The film is very much about the mindset of a famous actress who is accustomed to enjoying a certain amount of attention and who is cunning enough to get what she ultimately wants; by the end of the film, the question of who has really used who lingers. Miriam Margolyes also has an interesting role along these lines as Bening's lesbian financial backer who Bening manipulates with promises of swimming nude and meetings during massage sessions.
- Jun 26, 2016
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