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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
A brilliant, poignant and moving film; dialogue, cinematography and sound track all working together to great effect. Wonderful performance from Anna Paquin.
Published 3 months ago by Dr. B. Toth

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars complex but not fully successful
I'm with Dipesh Parmar in an earlier review. This fairly long film was never dull, but it did not satisfy either. Anna Paquin plays Lisa, an intelligent teenage girl with the erratic judgement of her years, feeling passionately about many things but expressing herself often in a way which angers or upsets those around her - and herself, in the end. She's prickly and...
Published on 14 Jan 2012 by Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 6 April 2014
By 
This review is from: Margaret (Amazon Instant Video)
A brilliant, poignant and moving film; dialogue, cinematography and sound track all working together to great effect. Wonderful performance from Anna Paquin.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent study of relationships, guilt, grief and teenage adolescence, 2 April 2014
This review is from: Margaret (Amazon Instant Video)
I don't actually want to go into, too much detail as the film speaks beautifully for itself, via the director/writers vision and the performances from both Mother and daughter especially. If you enjoy intelligent drama watch it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kind Of A Masterpiece, 4 May 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Margaret [DVD] (DVD)
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
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars complex but not fully successful, 14 Jan 2012
By 
Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane "almac1975" (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Margaret [DVD] (DVD)
I'm with Dipesh Parmar in an earlier review. This fairly long film was never dull, but it did not satisfy either. Anna Paquin plays Lisa, an intelligent teenage girl with the erratic judgement of her years, feeling passionately about many things but expressing herself often in a way which angers or upsets those around her - and herself, in the end. She's prickly and self-righteous, vulnerable and aggressive.

Lisa is not an unconvincing character ; she's just not likeable. At times she is the victim of circumstances. More often she creates trouble and aggravates it. She distresses a decent boy who likes her. She frequently upsets her mother, who is herself vulnerable. She is unable to deal successfully with her absent father, with whom she would like to spend time but to whom she talks on the 'phone, usually without very much connection, and whose offer of time spent together in the end is withdrawn. There are times when you would just like to slap her which is what (metaphorically) the dead woman's friend Emily eventually does, recognising that, while Lisa has been caught up in an event which would be traumatic for anyone, she is nonetheless making a narrative of it to suit herself, sometimes at the expense of others. I should say here that Anna Paquin's characteristic expression of startled self-righteousness turning to aggression is completely convincing ; she is very good, as are all the cast. J. Smith-Cameron as her mother also deserves special mention for a very good, understatedly fragile performance.

How much of this is the result of the film's editing, from 3 hours down to 2 and a quarter? It may be that links are missing, that some scenes, played out more fully, might carry more weight, but there is no way of knowing. There are moments when there are curious leaps, and one (in the maths teacher's apartment) when there was clear bad editing. In the end, the film seems to me to portray accurately some aspects of adolescent behaviour, but to be unsatisfactory as a dramatic whole.

P.S. (31st. July 2012) Another Amazon user has made me aware that this DVD is the full 3-hour version - I was writing about a version seen in the cinema, and should have made that clear. Thanks to my informant!
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3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but too lengthy, 5 July 2014
This review is from: Margaret (Amazon Instant Video)
Interesting film that looks at guilt and the feelings of responsibility. Some good performances within but at over 3 hours long the film drags slightly and feels like a self-satisfying directors project. Apparently it's release was delayed for years over funders saying that the film needed to be edited down -I totally agree with them. 30 minutes could easily be cut just by getting rid of unnecessary scenic views, or by cutting bits of conversation where extras are heard talking, before, during or after a scene. No joke their is one scene in a café where we (the viewer) overhear several conversations of extras before focussing on the main characters dialogue -its quite unnecessary and distracting.
Overall, If you like drama with purpose (pace) you might want to avoid this. However if you like character study the film may be right up your street even with its flaws.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hope opera, 22 May 2014
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This review is from: Margaret [DVD] (DVD)
On the day of its cinema release, Kenneth Lonergan's long-gestating drama was the most successful film in the UK. Problem was, it only opened on one screen. The story of Margaret's production is likely a fascinating story in itself, not least because of Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker's input into the final edit, which was presumably a return favour for Lonergan's work on the screenplay for Gangs of New York. But I'll focus on the fascinating story that Lonergan has told with this film.

Ostensibly the tale centres on a New York schoolgirl named Lisa (Anna Paquin, defining her young adulthood just as she defined herself in childhood with The Piano), who inadvertently causes a fatal road accident. What follows is the emotional aftermath, fought outwardly with her mother, as a moral and ethical war wages within her hormone-ravaged body.

The performances are excellent throughout, particularly Paquin and J. Smith-Cameron as the daughter and mother caught in gravitational flux. Jean Reno gives fine support as the sad-sack Ramon, while Matthew Broderick delivers the poem (by Gerard Manley Hopkins) that provides the film's title, while suggesting the entire life of his character by the way he eats a sandwich. It's that kind of film.

I once described Winter's Bone as an anti-youth movie. Margaret could be a companion piece in this regard, cautioning against the bright-eyed naivety of youthful independence, and promoting the importance of family. Like Winter's Ree, Lisa is a lost soul; unlike Ree, Lisa is not someone we admire. But she is always in focus; Lonergan expects not for us to like her, only to understand her. In maintaining this focus, Lonergan himself achieves the admirable: weaving a narrative whose minute details and labyrinthine arguments mirror the broader existential vista against which they are dwarfed.

Margaret goes deeper than Winter's Bone, delivering something pleasingly unexpected: a kind of Sartrean modern fable about the isolating nature of subjectivity. Like her actor mother on the stage, and like us all in our semi-waking lives, Lisa is the main player in her great opera. She performs the social functions that enable her to cling to a sense of belongingness, but something gnaws at her soul. And when, after the accident, she seeks some kind of meaning, she is met at once by indifference, before being seduced by those very institutions that make indifference normal. Nothing in the material world satisfies Lisa; nothing can match her aspirations. The suggestion here, I feel, is that our despair emerges from the disparity between that which we hope for and that which reality can deliver.

No wonder it took so long to find its way to a single UK screen: a three-hour existentialist play is a tough sell. Coming ten years after the towers sank to Ground Zero, Margaret joins There Will Be Blood, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, and (for some) Zodiac in the pantheon of modern classics that map the American psyche in the post-9/11 world.
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3.0 out of 5 stars MY OWN PERSONAL MORAL GYMNASIUM, 14 Jun 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Margaret [DVD] (DVD)
There is no one named Margaret in the movie. It comes from a poem that is read. But that's okay I grew up watching Captain Kangaroo who is nether a captain nor a kangaroo. In fact there may have been a lot of stuff I didn't grasp in this film, but here goes.

The film opens in slow motion to illustrate how life moves slowly along until one moment suddenly changes and defines it. Lisa (Anna Paquin) distracts a bus driver who runs a red light and kills a women. She wants to do the right thing, but what is it? The grief and moral dilemma disrupts her life and her relationships.

The film is well made. The acting was excellent as was the writing...I think. I just didn't enjoy the film, but I didn't dislike it either. The main problem I have with the overall theme is that Lisa wants justice for the dead woman. She has grief which we see, but we don't see her confess her role in the death except to the bus driver she distracted. She doesn't seem to have any guilt...or perhaps that is the point of the film is that we quickly forgive our own guilt...except we don't. I kept waiting for Lisa to take blame for what had happened and Emily (Jeannie Berlin) punch her in the mouth.

This is a film about grief, but it is not really sad. Matt Damon plays a geometry teacher who is a love interest of Lisa. Matthew Broderick plays a literature teacher whose classes provide the film with multiple confusing deeper themes for you to pick from in case you don't like the aspect of simply dealing with grief. After watching the film, I felt like I needed a hug.

PARENTAL GUIDE: F-bomb, sex, nudity (J. Smith-Cameron, Ann Paquin silhouette)
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars `Margaret' is worth watching just for Anna Paquins performance,, 3 Jan 2012
This review is from: Margaret [DVD] (DVD)
Lisa (Anna Paquin) is a bright, self-absorbed teenager in New York. Her carefree existence is shattered after witnessing an accident which causes the death of a woman (Allison Janney). Lisa was partly to blame, by distracting a bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) which caused him to run a red light.

Typical of a teenager, Lisa cannot quite articulate her grief and despair, taking her anger out on those close to her and especially her equally self-absorbed mother (J. Smith-Cameron). Growing more and more unhinged, Lisa is a disaster waiting to happen. Unable to find any solutions from her awkward attempts at sex and drugs, Lisa eventually decides to right a wrong that has been plagueing her since the accident.

`Margaret' misfires as much as it should be admired. The film is way too long, the film was originally made in 2005 but the producers could not agree on the length of the film until the director Kenneth Lonergan cut the film from 3 to 2.5 hours. We may never know if the original 3 hours is an improvement, i personally don't think so. Some scenes are way too short, others linger too long. `Margaret' doesn't feel complete, a scene near the end of the film typifies this when what should be a shocking scene seems more of a joke and is badly misjudged.

The performances of the cast save `Margaret', especially J. Smith Cameron and Anna Paquin who both deliver fiery performances which provide the backbone to the film. Paquins performance is one of the great depictions of what it feels like to be a teen, a wonderful portrait of moral confusion and helplessness in a young woman who is completely out of her depth and who just wants to get some closure. `Margaret' is worth watching just for her performance, its a shame the film doesn't dazzle in the same way.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, 19 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Margaret [DVD] (DVD)
There was something about this film... the story was interesting and the characters very well portrayed but there was something extra that made me love it! Just a great film.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking and Well Acted, 8 Oct 2012
By 
Mr. S. P. Walshe (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Margaret [DVD] (DVD)
I can see how this film is not everyone's cup of tea. It is long, scenes are sometimes extended beyond their useful requirement and at times it just seems to plod.

That said I found all of the characters engaging and well acted and the storyline interesting and almost totally unique. There are just so many complex relationships within the film that, for me at least, the time went quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Anna Paquin is superb as the attention seeking angst ridden teenager trying to find herself, Matt Damon is Matt Damon as is Jean Reno ... J. Smith-Cameron gives a mesmerising performance as the successful actress mother who someone cannot find peace in her personal life.

All in all a film that is engaging and thought provoking and, in my opinion at least, about the right length.
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Margaret [DVD]
Margaret [DVD] by Kenneth Lonergan (DVD - 2012)
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