Friday, October 07, 2011


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.

It isn’t easy growing up, no matter who you are and no matter what you have to live through while you’re doing it. Take Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) for instance. She is a 17-year-old girl living on the Upper West Side in New York City. She goes to a private school and comes from a broken home. Her pre-occupations are not unlike any other girl’s her age - she bickers with her family, she wants to lose her virginity, she has opinions about worldly subjects she is only beginning to understand. And she is only just realizing that it is up to her to make sense of her own world when she inadvertently causes a fatal traffic accident. Suddenly, the world makes even less sense than it did just moments earlier.

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not so much a comping of age movie as a metaphor for the WTC crashes in 2001.

Lisa represents the US provoking the attack (the bus accident) and her search to blame someone else but herself is more-or-less the last ten years of war from America.

Maybe that's why it was difficult to release.