A drama exploring the romantic past and emotional present of Ann Lord (Vanessa Redgrave) and her daughters, Constance Haverford (Natasha Richardson) and Nina Mars (Toni Collette). As Ann lays dying, she remembers, and is moved to convey to her daughters, the defining moments in her life fifty years ago, when she was a young woman. Harris Arden (Patrick Wilson) is the man Ann loves in the 1950s ...
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The love which binds mother and daughter - seen through the prism of one mother's life as it crests with optimism, navigates a turning point, and ebbs to its close. Overcome by the power of memory, Ann Lord (Vanessa Redgrave) reveals a long-held secret to her concerned daughters; Constance Haverford (Natasha Richardson), a content wife and mother, and Nina Mars (Toni Collette), a restless single woman. Both are bedside when Ann calls out for the man she loved more than any other. But who is this "Harris", wonder her daughters, and what is he to our mother? While Constance and Nina try to take stock of Ann's life and their own lives, their mother is tended to by a night nurse (Dame Eileen Atkins) as she journeys in her mind back to a summer weekend around fifty years before, when she was Ann Grant (Claire Danes), a young woman who has come from New York City to be maid of honor at the high-society Newport wedding of her dearest friend from college, Lila Wittenborn (Mamie Gummer). The ...Written by
According to The Hollywood Reporter (September 14, 2006): "Director Jonathan Caouette (Tarnation (2003)) had been in preliminary discussions to direct, and Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn was discussed for the lead role, but those deals never developed." See more »
In a scene in which characters get ready to drive away from the mansion, they are shown fastening seat belts with a shoulder strap. Shoulder straps were not introduced until much later than the mid '50's. See more »
Saw this Saturday night at the Provincetown Film Festival, and it's a stick-to-your-bones movie -- it's really stayed with me. Adapted very smartly from what is probably an excellent novel, it's a back-and-forth-in-time drama with fully rounded characters, thoughtful rumination on life choices, and, I'm not exaggerating. one of the greatest casts ever assembled in 100+ years of movie-making. Wonderful work from everyone, led by a luminous Vanessa Redgrave as a dying, deluded Newport matron, and Claire Danes as her much younger self. Meryl Streep's daughter Mamie Gummer is, like Mama, the real deal; Patrick Wilson looks like Paul Newman circa 1958 and doesn't overplay the charm; and what a pleasure to see such excellent stage actors as Barry Bostwick and Eileen Atkins contributing sharp, detailed cameos. Hugh Dancy, also from the stage, doesn't bring much edge to the somewhat clichéd role of an unhappy rich wastrel, and the family issues are resolved perhaps more neatly than real life would allow. But it's a deliberately paced, visually gorgeous meditation on real life issues, and you can cry at it and not feel like you're being recklessly manipulated. Also, what a sumptuous parade of 1940s/50s automobiles.
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