Lonergan is a master of actualising the relatable unsympathetic protagonist to screen, uncanny in articulating a highly-strung, precocious post-adolescent college grad with a vendetta. Some of the film's dialogue echoed Jonathan Franzen's novel, 'The Corrections'. 'Margaret' is a rough-cut diamond with a raw edge akin to a Kaufman script or Zwigoff film. Its messy flair unites content and form inextricably.
During the first half I was onboard with this, but there was a turning point: the discussion between Anna Paquin and Mark Ruffalo's characters was so annoying that it seemed to drag everything down with it: all of a sudden all characters became pretty unbearable and whether they were shouting during class, frenetically talking with lawyers or at restaurants discussing opera or Judaism... I just stopped caring.
The kind of great movie that is great in part for its mostly deliberate failure to be the slick, efficient, consumer-friendly entertainment machine that the cast leads some to expect. It's exhausting, difficult, thorny, and doesn't move seamlessly like multimillion-dollar prestige-y dramas are supposed to. It demands you mire yourself in it, grapple actively with its complexities, and the payoff is huge.
I'm impressed. Incredibly brilliant movie that isn't what it seems, not at all. Reminds me of Kaufman's Synecdoche NY. Mixed with Don DeLillo's Underworld. A perfects screenplay with so many undertones, pervaded by a Dostoievskian nihilism, mind-blowing due to its complexity.Don't watch the trailer, it's totally misleading. See the film.
3.5. A bone-shavingly close send-up of a precociously perceptive, painfully deluded young woman tortuously navigating Shaw's moral gymnasium, from which she finally emerges with the provisional realization that while we may be unable to help one another very much, or even to understand each other hardly at all, art and its kin catharses can at least make us cry together, clearing the stage for (re)new(ed) illusions.
If this film goal was to make its viewer loathe its protagonist than it succeeded and then some. Anna Paquin really embraces the writing and pulls off a wonderful performance -- compelling no matter how detestable her character really is. I enjoyed the inclusion of opera as a trope: is it really this healing force or are we just experiencing more of Margaret's off the wall emotion and artificiality in her reaction?
Gratuitous Norma-like uber drama is strung one scene after another for 3 hours of hyperbolic rant and stunned reaction. Makes for wonderful roles which fine actors can parlay into heady reviews, but has no cohesion in the modulation of emotional architecture one hopes to find in good dramatic films. Oddly reminded me of the glinting and shiny fool's gold which Francis Coppola has been mining for the last 20 years.