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 ...
See full summary »
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
Ann points out her star, chosen by Buddy, to Harris as one of the Seven Sisters. The Seven Sisters is the Pleiades, which (in addition to Orion, which is also mentioned) is a winter constellation and could not possibly have been in the sky during the summer, when the wedding took place. See more »
You know what you've got? You have got a talent for love. You're like a love genius. And there are too many statues of generals and politicians, and there are not enough statues of someone like you. In this world, there is so much of what looks like love, and sounds like love, and calls itself love, but it isn't. It's just people saying and doing what they think they ought to say and do. And you, you, you, are the greatest. You're the greatest. You're the greatest. So here's to love, an-and, ...
See more »
Melody in F
Written by Anton Rubinstein
Arranged by James Clarke
Performed by James Clarke
Courtesy of 5 Alarm Music See more »
Try to remember Gatsby.
For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: "It might have been!" John Greenleaf Whittier
Evening is dominated by regret, saturated so completely I regret having seen the film. Well, not quite, but rarely has a film had such an accomplished cast and high-class writing pedigree and disappointed me so thoroughly. The regret theme is hammered home so superficially I was driven to try to remember lines from The Great Gatsby to mitigate my growing anger at being treated by the filmmakers as if I could not endure subtlety or ambivalence.
In other words, I got it from the first scene where Vanessa Redgrave looks out over her Newport memory at her young self (Claire Danes) and begins what have to be the easiest lines she's ever had playing an aging romantic: "Why didn't I marry Harris?" The variations on this theme in the movie are legion, even when it's not the young doctor, played by Patrick Wilson, whom her friend, Lila (Mamie Gummerlooking very much like her aunt, Meryl Streep), also regrets not marrying.
One of my major problems is that it's never clear why these substantial women spent so much emotional coin on a character we never get to know, except for his Paul Newmanish good looks. But like the rest of the regret-laden characters, this film spends no dramatic coin on depthall is skating on the surface, letting us do the sub-textual work rather than the dialogue. In the coda, Old Lila (Streep) makes an attempt at character deconstruction by saying about women, "We are mysterious creatures." Give me a break; could I have a bit more than platitude?
A regrettable life is Buddy's (Hugh Dancy), Lila's drunken, poetic brother, who tries to prevent Lila from marrying the wrong man (not Buddy), whom Buddy loves also, but then this gay sub-theme is never explored beyond a drunken kiss. Nothing in this film is explored except maybe its shameless borrowing from Gatsby without a modicum of understanding that his loss was not just of a woman but of a class struggle, a dying age, and self worth. For Ann, it's just Harris.
The cars are shiny period antiques, the house is beyond the reach of anyone in the audience, and the insights into smart women facing loss are none. Thank goodness for the arrival of evening, when the real stars are the lights in the firmament, not the rich wailing for their lost loves.
37 of 76 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this