Imitation of Life

A journal about film, music, literature and any other form of imitation of life. Seeing through a glass darkly…

Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret to be released in 2011

It’s probably the best piece of cinematic news of the year: Kenneth Lonergan’s second film Margaret will finally be released in 2011 after five years of legal disputes.

The film, which stars Anna Paquin, Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo, was shot in three months back in 2005, but it has been tied up in several lawsuits ever since. It tells the story of a teenager indirectly involved  in a traffic accident and the unforeseeable aftermath the event has in her life.

Lonergan’s debut film You Can Count on Me was a critical success and it immediately granted him a ‘final cut’ status as director, which probably is the reason why the film has not been released yet. Apparently Lonergan was not happy with any of the versions coming out of the editing room despite the intervention of producer Scott Ruding, the late Sydney Pollack and legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker. Some of them, however, stated that the film is a masterpiece.

Now Fox Searchlight has announced that there is a final version that has received the director’s approval and that the film will be released sometime in 2011. It will be interesting to see the picture not least because of the flashback experience.

 Anna Paquin, Margaret‘s leading actress, was a well known performer back in 2005. Everybody remembered her deliciously speechless Oscar acceptance speech at the age of 11 and she had managed to build a solid career working with some of Hollywood’s best directors like Franco Zeffirelli, Steven Spielberg, Gus Van Sant, Noah Baumbach or Cameron Crowe. However, she had strangely managed to stay in the margins of mainstream stardom, and that despite her participation in one of the best blockbuster series of the decade, the X-Men trilogy. Now, however, she is a household name thanks to her role as blond Southern belle with a crush on a vampire in HBO’s hit True Blood. She might well come back to the film award circuit for a performance by her brunette, 6-years-younger self.

Mark Ruffalo, who was brilliant in Lonergan’s debut, had also proved by 2005 his acting skills in good supporting roles in films like In the Cut, My Life without Me or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but he still had a ‘that-actor-that-played-in’ status. Thanks to his roles in Zodiac or Shutter Island, among others, he is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors and he will probably be nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Kids Are All Right before Margaret sees the light of the day.

Apart from Paquin, Ruffalo and Matt Damon, the film features a more than interesting supporting cast including the great Allison Janney (The West Wing, Juno), Olivia Thirlby (one of my favourite young actors, she was hilarious as Elle Page’s friend in Juno) and Rosemarie DeWitt (who in my opinion was robbed of an Oscar nomination for her role as Anne Hathaway’s sister in Rachel Getting Married).

There’s still no video of Margaret, so I’ll put here the trailer of You Can Count of Me. Looking back, I think it’s one of my favourite films of the decade. Laura Linney, who was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, gives a compelling performance as a single mother struggling with her small town life. Extremely funny at times and unbearably sad at others, You Can Count on Me is an insightful snapshot of life.

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