Archive for November 14th, 2007

November 14, 2007

>A five star cast in a two star film

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Why are they all in love with Harris?

Evening (2007) – A psychological drama about hasty life choices and late remorse told from a feminine point of view. A critic-acclaimed novel which screenplay was written by Pulitzer Prize winner author Michael Cunningham (who wrote The Hours) and whose dream ensemble cast consist of names like Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Glenn Close, Natasha Richardson, Toni Collette and Claire Danes, among others. It should have been a great film. But it wasn’t. Ann (played in old age by Redgrave) is a dying woman confined in bed while receiving all the attention her two loving daughters (Richardson and Collette) dedicate to her last moments. She keeps mentioning the name Harris over and over, and her daughters have no idea who the man in question might be. Of course the audience will know who he is long before her daughters. Through constant flashbacks, the director goes back to the 1950s, to the day where Ann (now Claire Danes) met a doctor named Harris (Patrick Wilson) during the tumultuous weekend her best friend Lila (Meryl Streep and real life daughter Mamie Gummer) was supposed to get married.

Lila is not quite sure about the marriage. She has been in love with another man – Harris – since she was 15 (she’s now 24), but Ann is falling in love with him as well. And then, there’s Lila’s brother, the alcoholic and attention-seeker Buddy (Hugh Dancy, the best acting in the young cast) who seemed to be affected by Harris as well. We have now a love square. Why is this Harris so magnetic? I haven’t read the book, but I’m afraid the screenplay miserably failed on transporting to the screen how inspiring he is supposed to be and Wilson’s heartless performance didn’t help either. In addition, Claire Danes doesn’t convince the audience even on post-romance flashbacks (a frustrating meeting in an awful rainy day) whereas Redgrave in her most tormenting dreams makes you feel sorry for that woman’s lost love. More old Ann moans on her past, more you want to know about it, and luckily most of the action is set in the 1950s. Unfortunately, the movie answers (or doesn’t answer at all) important questions too slowly through a constant still atmosphere that frustrates deeply in the end.

Streep and Redgrave inject heart in a rare Evening warm moment