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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Anna Paquin
Mark Ruffalo
Jean Reno.
Directors
Kenneth Lonergan.
Screenwriters
Kenneth Lonergan.
Running Time
149 minutes

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Margaret
Kenneth Lonergan's gem finally arrives


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Plot
Manhattan high school student Lisa (Anna Paquin) has rigid moral principles, but finds them tested when she witnesses a fatal bus accident. Guilt-ridden, she embarks on a fraught quest to seek retribution for the victim, as her high-strung mother (J. Smith-Cameron) and kindly maths teacher (Matt Damon) look helplessly on.


Review
Margaret
Kenneth Lonergan’s follow-up to his 2000 debut You Can Count On Me has such a tortuous backstory that it’s remarkable enough we’re seeing it at all. Shot in 2005, it’s since been stuck in litigation purgatory as the director found himself unable to edit its sprawling narrative to his satisfaction. That what promised to be a bloated folly turns out to be a rich, searching drama is little short of a miracle.

In a startling performance that might flummox the True Blood crowd, Paquin shoulders the full weight of the story’s complex moral framework, a cat’s-cradle of crossed emotions and perceptions in which nobody gets what they want out of anyone else; Lonergan never writes easy redemption when a compromised version will do. Amid its ample dramatic rewards, Margaret might be the most subtly moving study American cinema has yet produced of social fractures in post-9/11 New York.


Verdict
As a rule, not many films left in post-production limbo for six years turn out to be worth the wait, but Margaret is an exquisite exception: knotty, ambitious and trading in messy human truths, it’s the work of a master dramatist. Here’s hoping Lonergan’s next one reaches us a little faster.


Reviewed by Guy Lodge

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Margaret
Empire Star Rating

Anna Paquin

Wow its interesting to see this was filmed in 05 Thats why Paquin was playing such a young role I suspect she was older even then but playing someone much younger because then they couldn't have done the sex scenes with Kieran Kulkin. Anna Paquin manages to pull off being extremely highly intelligent yet very young and I would say very naive to the harsh reality's of the adult world, and for her it means things get a bit fucked up for her. I found myself blaming the weird new york private school... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 14:39, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


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