.

Margaret

Anna Paquin, Mark Ruffalo

Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3.5
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
January 13, 2012

They're calling this the movie that never had a chance. Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan shot Margaret in 2005, but his struggles to achieve a final cut (with help from Martin Scorsese), plus contractual difficulties, delayed the release till late in 2011, when Margaret entered and exited most theaters with uncommon speed.

What a shame. Margaret, for all its flaws, is a film of rare beauty and shocking gravity. Anna Paquin, pre-True Blood, gives a stellar performance as Lisa Cohen, a child of divorce who lives with her actress mother (J. Smith-Cameron, superb) in Manhattan while her screenwriter father (Lonergan) phones it in from L.A. One day, Lisa walks alongside a bus whose driver (Mark Ruffalo) wears a hat she covets. Their flirting leads him to run a light and kill a pedestrian (Allison Janney), who lies bloody and broken in Lisa's arms.

Margaret, a title taken from a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, resonates with loss felt deeply by New Yorkers in the shadow of 9/11. For Lisa, it inspires a crusade to connect. She reaches out to the victim's militant best friend (Jeannie Berlin in an award-caliber performance), then to a teacher (Matt Damon) who takes advantage, and then to a lawsuit that she hopes will bring the driver to justice. What Lisa can't find is closure. And Lonergan (You Can Count on Me) shares her agonizing search. Yes, Margaret comes apart at the seams as you watch it, but it gives off a lovely light. Seek it out. You can thank me later.

Related
Video: Peter Travers Reviews 'The Devil Inside' and 'Joyful Noise' in This Week's 'At the Movies With Peter Travers'

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Road to Nowhere”

    Talking Heads | 1985

    A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com