You probably have to be of a certain age to be interested in a movie about Margaret Thatcher. I was
in my 20s and 30s when she (and Ronald Reagan) were in power. I only had a tangential interest in her at the time. The movie paints a lovely character sketch of her as a young woman, and old woman, and as prime minister. It covers a lot of ground in a short time but does it well. Of course Meryl Streep is a master of her craft. I was concerned that I'd be distracted by the impersonation but honestly, after a few minutes I believed I was watching Margaret Thatcher herself.
David Kross is the standout in this snoozer. He brings sensitivity and emotion to the role that
Ralph Fiennes does not. Kate Winslett has great facial expressions but frankly I never knew what motivated her. The story is told in an inside-out sort of way that makes it hard to know what is happening when.
The sex scenes go on too long, the reading goes on too long... at the expense of character development and motivation. We see that the older Michael Berg's life is messed up, ostensibly because Hannah doesn't ever really connect with him. But this was a 16 year-old's summer fling — why does that consign him to a life where he is unable to connect with his wife and daughter?
I'm thinking that all of this is explained in the book which would be able to explain the interior dialog better than the visual medium of a movie. We saw this after Missionary Road. Kate was interesting in both, but better in Revolutionary Road.
This is a sweet movie (although a bit long) with an interesting story and engaging characters. If
they could have found someone other than Brad Pitt to play the lead role, it would have been even better. Cate Blanchett is the better lead actor in my opinion. I liked the way they evoked old New Orleans. The supporting cast is very good, especially Benjamin's mom.
One distraction which can't be avoided is you keep wondering "how did they do it?" The special effects are excellent, but it is very hard to suspend your disbelief to become totally immersed in the premise of the story. I think if they had cast a little-known male actor instead of Brad Pitt, you wouldn't have been wondering "is that Brad Pitt as the old man?" In fact, I thought the weakest part of the movie was when Brad Pitt looked like Brad Pitt. For my taste, he's too pretty. I felt the same way about Robert Redford back in the day. He was always Robert Redford.
I loved the recreation of LA in the late 20s. This is a compelling story, especially if indeed it
is true. Angelina Jolie is fairly uni-dimensional — and I was very distracted by how red they made her big lips. Somehow I just can't take her seriously as an actress. The story is longish and drags in the middle. But you can't help but be caught up in the story. If you like a good guys vs. bad guys story, then go see it.
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