Written and Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
Starring Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo and Alison Janney
Lisa Cohen: I just need to talk to somebody who doesn’t completely misunderstand who I am or what’s going on inside me.
MARGARET is writer/director, Kenneth Lonergan’s highly anticipated follow-up to his Oscar nominated 2001 feature, YOU CAN COUNT ON ME. The film went into production in 2005, when the now 29-year-old star, Paquin, who certainly gives a vibrant and youthful performance, was but 23. It then spent years in turnaround as Lonergan tinkered with the lengthy 3-hour+ runtime, trying to get distributer, Fox Searchlight, to sign off on it. It was scheduled to be released in 2007 but the cut was deemed unreleasable. In the midst of legal battles, Martin Scorsese and his faithful editor, Thelma Schoonmaker came on board to see what they could make of it. Their edit is the official theatrical release and both company and director are apparently happy with the end results.
Indeed all parties should be pleased as MARGARET is an engaging coming of age story. Lisa does not know how to process what she has witnessed and has no idea how to make right what she caused. She looks down every road for solace but constantly runs into walls and subsequently, she begins to act out as a means to make her life about something other than that accident. Perhaps in her own self-destruction, she can eradicate her guilt. If only life were that simple though. If it were, not only would Lisa find a simple path to peace but Lonergan would have found a simpler path to finishing this film. Life allows for things to pass in their own time though and with that, MARGARET needed to take this long to be released. Like Lisa, it too had some growing pains to go through first.