I wanted to love it. Had no doubts that I would. Then, I saw it and everything changed.
The first hour wasn’t bad. Then, Margaret led me into perplexing tangents that dead-ended and left me disappointed and cold (the theater was freezing). It was a meandering mess that held me hostage for 2.5 hours.
New York teen Lisa (Anna Paquin, you know she will have at least one topless scene) is on a quest for a cowboy hat. While out and about, she witnesses a traffic fatality. Feeling complicit, she sets out to do right by the victim. As she gets more vested, the situation creates emotional turbulence. Her mother, Joan (J. Smith-Cameron), a stage actress. is having problems relating to Lisa’s increasingly explosive reactions. Joan starts dating Ramon (Jean Reno). Their budding relationship is boring and painful to watch; I didn’t understand the point of it. Even Joan seems uninterested. Lisa becomes increasingly desperate as she loses more control in her quest to do The Right Thing. Lisa’s father, Karl (director Kenneth Lonergan) is selfish and unsupportive. He’s just one more unlikeable character in this parade of many.
What happened? Margaret needed focus and editing. The story took on more than it could resolve, resulting in an unsatisfactory experience.
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Run time: 150 very long minutes