Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top Ten Films of 2011: #2

Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Anna Paquin, Jeannie Berlin, J. Smith Cameron, Matt Damon, Kieran Culkin, Alison Janney

To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a film in quite some time which expresses the strain of transition with the same liberating surge of tonal volatility as “Margaret” does, blackly comic to rich effect but also a bitterly melancholic lament for 20th Century New York. Lonergan’s audacious filmmaking chronicles one girl’s grief, and how that girl represents a generation searching for answers, self-purpose, and a sense of righteousness, and expresses how we as people revolve on our own axes as the earth rotates. Despite being firmly committed to one character, the film infringes upon the realm of meta-narrative works such as Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia” in its embrace of sprawling emotional mess as a commentary on grander philosophies and concerns. To think this nearly never saw the light of day is frightening: The road to release may have been an arduous and rocky one for “Margaret,” but boy was it worth the wait.

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