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Susan Minot, Michael Cunningham
Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Vanessa Redgrave, Patrick Wilson, Hugh Dancy, Natasha Richardson, Eileen Atkins, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Barry Bostwick, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Chris Stack, Blaise Corrigan, Jerry Quinn, Whitney Avalon, Jason Anthony, Domenic Fuggetta, Diane Feraco, Ellen Becker-Gray, John Currie, Rob W. Gray, Allyssa Maurice, Mamie Gummer, David Call, Sarah Viccellio, David Furr, Bonnie-Kathleen Discepolo, Cheryl Lynn Bowers, Timothy Kiefer, Margaret Coen, Gabe Goodman, Sheila Thomas, Kara F. Doherty, Kara Doherty, Dayna D'Angelo, Christopher Ferrara, Linda Chernoff
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|Movie Review by Matthew |
July 5th, 2007
"Evening" is a chick flick. Let's get that out of the way right away. You will be hard pressed to find any straight guys gathering together to see "Evening" at the local multiplex. The only straight guys that will be in then theater for this film are the husbands, friends and boyfriends of the women who want to see this movie.
But I think the term 'chick flick' doesn't even begin to paint the whole picture. "Evening" is a beautifully photographed, well-written film starring some of the best actresses of a couple of generations. Anyone who appreciates well-made films should seek this out, whether they are female, male, straight or otherwise. But I have a feeling that no matter how much I try to convince you otherwise, if you are intent on seeing "Die Hard 4", you probably aren't interested in also watching "Evening". Right? Or am I the only freak out there? (See my review of "Live Free or Die Hard" to discover how much of a freak I am).
Ann (Claire Danes) arrives at the Providence estate of her best friend, Lila (Mamie Gummer, Meryl Streep's daughter); to serve as Maid of Honor for her friend's wedding. Flash forward fifty years and Ann (Vanessa Redgrave) is on her death bed and telling confusing stories of that weekend fifty years before, confusing her grown daughters, Constance (Natasha Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave's daughter) and Nina (Toni Collette). As the daughters try to help their mother rest peacefully, they try to come to terms with their own relationships, both with their mother and with each other. The night nurse (Eileen Atkins) helps Ann deal with the pain, but also serves as a sort of guide to the magical, fateful events so many summers ago. As soon as Ann arrives for the wedding, Buddy (Hugh Dancy), Lila's alcoholic brother, asks Ann to help him stop the wedding. Lila doesn't love her fiancée and should really marry Harris (Patrick Wilson), the son of a former housekeeper. But Lila realizes she must go through with the marriage because her mother (Glenn Close) would have a fit. As Ann and Harris get to know each other, they begin to fall in love, much to both Buddy and Lila's dismay. Many years later, Lila (Meryl Streep) visits Ann on her death bed to provide her with some comfort before her friend passes away.
"Evening", directed by Lajos Koltai (a cinematographer who has worked on many, many Hollywood films) and written by Michael Cunningham ("The Hours") and Susan Minot, based on her novel of the same name, is a well-made film exploring the 'mistakes' a couple of women make and how these mistakes effect the rest of their lives.
The multigenerational story is told through a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards. Beginning with Redgrave, as Ann, on her deathbed, we see some of her memories and this seems to be the binding thread to the narrative. As Ann floats in and out of consciousness, she remembers various snippets of this big moment in her life. After this rhythm is established, we realize we are going to watch various moments, told in a pretty free flowing pattern. Yet, the moments from the past are told in chronological order and seem complete, so it is less confusing than it may seem from my description. But these moments are highlights of this event, and some of the connecting bits are left out, some of the less important moments which seem lost to Redgrave's character's memory.
Basically, the story tells of two different events in these character's lives. Lila's wedding was a big event for everyone involved. One woman marries a man she doesn't love, one woman falls in love with another man and an event causes them to remain apart. There is a lot more at work in this story, but this is the gist of it. In the modern day story, Ann's pain medicine causes her to fall in and out of consciousness. In these moments, she talks with her night nurse (Atkins), who at times is a nurse and at others, seems to be a sort of guide into the other world, helping her keep her thoughts and memories as clear as possible. In these moments, her ramblings also cause her daughters (Richardson and Collette) to ask questions about their mother and about their own lives and to make some decisions.
The story is multilayered and shifts back and forth, seemingly at whim, but it is very easy to follow.
The cast for this film is fantastic. Many of the best actresses of three generations are apart of this film, along with two up and coming actors. I know the film is getting some negative reviews and I think perhaps they are letting their expectations get ahead of them. Any film with this cast has to be good, and I think the expectations for this film are high, maybe too high. "Evening" is a very good film. But with a cast like this, many clearly expect it to be a great film. It isn't a great film.
It won't fit. Please read the full review at thornhillatthemovies.com
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