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Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars A stellar cast takes this film to the stars, 3 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Evening [DVD] (DVD)
A romantic drama of a dying singer remembering her young days and early romances. Schmaltzy? Yes, of course, but raised above cloying sentimentality by wonderful performances from an all-star cast. Vanessa Redgrave, as the leading character, Anne Grant, is hardly seen below the neck as she is on her deathbed, but she is so facially expressive, her acting shines through her marvellous eyes. Her daughters, played by her own daughter Natasha Richardson (not long before her tragic death) and Toni Collette, are both extraordinarily luminous. Claire Danes as young Anne, has just the right balance of naivety and worldliness, vulnerability and capability, to bring a vivacious edge to the crucial nub of the story, the wedding of Anne's friend Lila in the snobby and conventional world of rich Hampton society. Lila, played by Mamie Gummer when young, Meryl Streep when old, is beautifully conveyed, the girl marrying as she should rather than as she would, and the likeness continuity conveyed by the costuming and make-up between the young and old Lila is impressive.

The screenplay, co-written by Michael Cunningham, has all the hallmarks of 'The Hours' and with three of the main players from that film - Danes, Collette, and Streep, shows some similarities. The fifties drama of young Anne's romances depends on nuances of acting and expression, especially Danes and Dancy, and subtly contrast with Anne's daughters' contemporary personal conflicts, admirably portrayed by Richardson and Collette, with the period details of conversation and situation capturing the social constraints of both periods. The secondary roles are classily portrayed by Eileen Atkins, Hugh Dancy, and Patrick Wilson.

This is a remarkable little film and a very pleasant DVD to recommend for a quiet evening.
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3.8 out of 5 stars (24 customer reviews)
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