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‘Margaret’ a star-studded dud

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

"Margaret"

2 out of 5 Pitchforks

Fox Searchlight

Releases: Oct. 7

Director Kenneth Lonergan held off on releasing “Margaret” in 2007 because he struggled to find the right ending to his movie. Perhaps with another four years, something better could have come out of it.

“Margaret” starts off with a bang — literally.  Lisa Cohen, played by a very young Anna Paquin, searches for a cowboy hat in New York City only to discover it’s much harder to find than she thought. She then turns around to see a bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) wearing a cowboy hat.

Cohen runs alongside the bus, distracting the driver who runs a red light, hitting a woman crossing the street with her groceries (Allison Janney).

Lisa tries to help out the woman, but she dies minutes later in her arms and, in turn, ruins Lisa’s life — and about two and a half hours of the viewer’s life.

She and the bus driver lie to the police about what happened, resulting in an open and shut case.

For the next two hours, Lisa goes on a binge of bad decision-making.

Paquin plays the perfect Lifetime movie high school teenager who doesn’t know how to handle herself after such a horrible tragedy.

She acts inappropriately during her high school classes with irate political outbursts at classmates and a crush for her geometry teacher (Matt Damon) gone too far.

The plot never strays away from what the accident did to Lisa. She turns to her mother (J. Smith Cameron) for guidance, but comes up short because her mom is busy with her upcoming play release.

After visiting the dead woman’s friend, she makes it a goal to get the bus driver fired for killing the innocent woman.

Her guilt for what happened consumes every waking scene with slow motion shots of her walking the streets of New York while Italian funeral music plays.

The question that Lisa desperately wants answered is who was truly at fault for Monica’s death?

The problem is the audience does not need over two hours to figure it out.

The director created a movie that was trying to ask this huge moral question that didn’t really need to be given a second thought.

The result is a renter with big names and good performances that can be fast-forwarded without missing a beat.

 

Reach the reporter at mpareval@asu.edu

 

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