Margaret centers on a 17-year-old New York City high-school student who feels certain that she inadvertently played a role in a traffic accident that has claimed a woman’s life. In her attempts to set things right she meets with opposition at every step. Torn apart with frustration, she begins emotionally brutalizing her family, her friends, her teachers, and most of all, herself. She has been confronted quite unexpectedly with a basic truth: that her youthful ideals are on a collision course against the realities and compromises of the adult world. –IMDb
Kenneth Lonergan is a playwright, screenwriter and director. His film You Can Count On Me, which he wrote and directed, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, won the Sundance 2000 Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, the NY Film Critics Circle, LA Film Critics Circle, Writers Guild of America and National Board of Review awards for Best Screenplay of 2001, the AFI awards for Best Film and Best New Writer. He co-wrote the film Gangs Of New York which garnered a WGA and Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. As a playwright he has been represented in New York by Lobby Hero, (Playwrights Horizons, John Houseman Theatre, Drama Desk Best Play nominee, Outer Critics Circle Best Play and John Gassner Playwrighting nominee, included in the 2000-2001 Best Plays annual), The Waverly Gallery (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Promenade; 2001 Pulitzer Prize runner-up), and This is our Youth (Drama Desk Best Play nominee). Lobby Hero (Olivier Award… read more
I am amazed at the collective appraisal this mediocre film keep receiving. I was personally left, and remain after repeat viewings, completely underwhelmed and do not agree with there being "too much going on in this movie to take in". It is all there on the surface, overly accessible, everything spelled out in capital letters. 'Margaret' talks down to its audience.
Perhaps littering the first 2/3s, or so, of the movie with dialogues and actions which purposely avoid the issue is obvious (it wasn't to those I watched with, but I'm not good at discerning what is and is not obvious), perhaps the emotions held back are too clear, and, though never stated, the desire to escape from the situation as motivation to detach and rebel (again, I don't know how others see it), but this approach worked for me. Although embellished for film, the way this movie expressed certain emotions related with adolescence and adulthood (and the transition thereof) struck me as accurate.
There's just far too much going on in this movie to take it all in in one viewing, and that's why critics were so lukewarm toward it when it came out. Over time, it'll be seen in the same vein as Lonergan's other film. It really is an American masterpiece. Most people just don't know it yet. I've never seen anything like it.
This week we highlight a unique film journal, a couple of recent Q&As and a review of a new book on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker.
Also: Girish Shambu on the video essay, Brian Darr on Méliès, Kurt Jensen on Mamoulian and more.
“We sort of do the lineup by the seat of our pants.”
According to the Passiondex™, the real winner this year was made 20 years ago.
The AV Club‘s and Salon’s are among the new lists. Also, a new issue of Offscreen.
Strong showing for Margaret, Hugo and Moneyball.
Also: The campaign to give Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret a fair shake.
“What a glorious mess!” Some have fallen in love. Others, not so much: “Messy and disorganized and fundamentally bad.”