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Margaret review

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Margaret

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
runtime:
150 minutes
Wide Release Date:
09/30/11
performer:
Anna Paquin
director:
Kenneth Lonergan
distributor:
Fox Searchlight Pictures
genre:
Drama

We gave it a B+

In 2000, Kenneth Lonergan wrote and directed the beautifully observed drama You Can Count on Me. That bittersweet indie, which showcased Mark Ruffalo and Laura Linney before they were stars, won heaps of critical praise and earned Lonergan a Best Screenplay Oscar nod. It was a charmed debut, especially compared with what happened next. Lonergan shot his second film, Margaret (2011, R, 2 hrs., 29 mins.), in 2005. With a cast that included Ruffalo, a pre-True Blood Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, and Matthew Broderick, the movie seemed like it couldn’t miss. But after a flurry of lawsuits (the studio sued a producer over costs; the producer sued the studio and Lonergan over editing issues), running-time squabbles, and other existentially bad breaks, it took the project six years to arrive in theaters. The good news, for the majority of us who missed its limited release last fall, is that Margaret is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Paquin plays Lisa Cohen, a New York private-school teen who witnesses a woman getting hit and killed by a bus. Problem is, she was the one who distracted the driver (Ruffalo). At first, Lisa lies to the police to protect Ruffalo’s character and ease her own guilt. Eventually, though, her conscience forces her to recant. Margaret — the title refers to a poem — is a long, sprawling film, and the Blu-ray includes an even longer, more sprawling extended cut with 36 additional minutes. But it’s a powerful experience, definitely worth the wait. B+

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