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Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret

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Imagine sitting through 3 hours without an intermission.. if this had been the opera, one might begrudgingly understand …but a movie without Elizabeth Taylor? Remarkably, this oftimes operatic like film by uber talented Kenneth Lonergan moves swiftly like the city it takes place in..New York.

A teenaged Anna Paquin witnesses and is somewhat responsible for something that becomes the trigger for the rest of the story…and everything else supports her in this tale of growth, confusion, and search for connection.  All of the acting is top rate, J. Smith Cameron, Mark Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Allison Janney, Mathew Broderick and Elaine May’s now skinny kid, Jeannie Berlin (remember her from Heartbreak Kid)?

Paquin as Lisa Cohen is an intelligent piece of molten lava who manipulates those around her while desperately trying to find her internal balance. She is lit in many ways, offering her up as seductress in one scene, and pimply raging monster another. The many faces of burgeoning womanhood.

Longergan writes beautifully for his female characters… 38 points for that as well as seeming to understand the New York Jewish defnese mechanism …especially when Jean Reno, playing a Columbian software guy, makes a comment about it…innocently revealing the bias that lies hidden in us all.

In this longer version, the director writer inserts rambling street conversations,giving the viewer the sense of NY as a fishbowl, with everyone talking at the same time. It’s effective, as well as the slow moving crowd scenes, reminding how time rarely stands  still in a city on the move.

I was an easy teen, but I imagine many parents, especially in divorced situations, can identify the family struggles.

Lonergan succeeds in bringing many issues to the fore in this film ==the idiocy of ‘justice’ through monetary rewards; the pull of sex; and the struggle to find peace with each other and with the world. All issues deserving of an opera which he also provides by way of Renee Fleming and Tales of Hoffman.

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