Kenneth Lonergan's delayed film 'Margaret' is a kind of masterpiece. The title of the film comes from a poem, 'Spring and Fall' by Gerald Manley Hopkins. This was a favorite poem by one of Lonergan's mentors, Patricia Broderick, and centers on a woman named Margaret. This is Lonergan's tribute to Broderick. Of note, Broderick's son plays a teacher in the film.
The film starts with a moving scene of the New York City landscape on a beautiful day, and suddenly we are smack dab in the middle of trauma and blood and gore. This scene is so profound and so well acted that it is etched permanently in our minds. Lisa, played by Anna Paquin, is the witness and partial cause of this incident. This will cause her hours and days and months of pain and grieving. She is a young girl, 17 years old and in the midst of growing up. She thinks she is an adult, but in reality she is still a teenager trying to move through her days. Overly dramatic, yes, but then her mother is an actress of some renown on the stage, and her father, a playwright/writer in Hollywood. The father is played by the director, Kenneth Lonergan, and he is quite believable as a loving but distracted father, off in his own world.
As the film proceeds we see Lisa as she grieves and as she tries to do the right thing. She is unable to talk with her mother about her mixed feelings of lying to protect someone, so she latches onto a teacher, played by Matt Damon, and then onto the best friend of the victim. The film gives us a perspective from all sides. We all have our version, and then we all have our morals and ethics to defend. What would I do in these circumstances? Difficult to say , a 17 year old me?
The writing is superb, the acting superb, and the film's storyline is a new side of an old theme. Well done, more than entertaining, thought provoking and insistent. A must see for everyone.
Recommended. prisrob 05-04-13