A drama exploring the romantic past and emotional present of Ann Grant and her daughters, Constance and Nina. As Ann lays dying, she remembers, and is moved to convey to her daughters, the defining moments in her life 50 years prior, when she was a young woman. Harris is the man Ann loves in the 1950s and never forgets.
After 20 years caring for her father, a woman with cancer now must re-connect with her trashy sister and nephews she's never met after being diagnosed. Her love helps the angry teen nephew, and her sister learns to relate to people.
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 reveals a long-held secret to her concerned daughters; Constance, a content wife and mother, and Nina, 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 as she journeys in her mind back to a summer weekend some fifty years before, when she was Ann Grant, 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. The bride-to-be is jittery, and turns to her maid of honor rather than her own mother for support. Ann stays close to her friend...Written by
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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