Though the film is slow in places, I found it profound and profoundly moving. Ultimately, it supports domestic life, but it does so by denouncing regret -- a journey that resonates with me. Ann, fading away to her death, wonders how life would have turned out if she had pursued a man with whom she had a one night stand years ago just as her daughter wonders whether to stay with the man who impregnated her; it is perhaps too convenient that these storylines so flawlessly intertwine, but as the stories unfold, I forgot about the convenience and concentrated on the theme.
There isn't an outstanding performance in the film, save possibly for Toni Collette as the uncertain daughter, but everyone is solid.
I did think that the romance between Ann and Harris should have been more passionate or more deeply connected; as it is, I wonder if a one night stand is really worth a lifetime of regret.
Overall, I enjoyed Evening, a poignant drama with timeless themes.
Many of the emotional moments seemed overwrought - as the scene between daughters where each called out the other's charactor flaws - I just felt it could have been handled much better - the scene seemed like something out of a made for TV movie - all the emotions just so pat - each sister says her piece and then they hug and reconcile - not very realistice.
The memory scenes held a bit more sway, but even with them there seemed a certain contrievance that, in spite of some nice dialog, came off flat and in one case in particular (the "next morning" where Glenn Close goes way over the top mourning her son's demise) I was wondering why the scene even existed.
The accidental meeting between Harris and the main charactor, even giving credence to creative license (as it was all just a memory anyway), seemed unnecessary and disjointed.
Streep, as usual, lit up the screen in what was little more than a cameo role, while Close was totally wasted and the aforementioned scene seemed a vehicle to get her more screen time.
Overall, the nice touches (seeing the night nurse in a ball gown) were far outweighed by some overwrought and unnecessary scenes, and an overall sense of falseness - like when the single sister finally announces to her boyfriend that she is pregnant - it should have been cathartic if played well - but it came off as staged and the emotions phony.
This movie is frustrating however in that we watch through over two hours to find out what? Ann should have acted on her instincts earlier in her life?
[font=Century Gothic]Rewind 50 years and Ann(Claire Danes) is a singer from Greenwich Village who is attending the wedding of Lila(Mamie Gummer), a friend of hers from college, in Newport. Her brother Buddy(Hugh Dancy) disapproves feeling that she should instead marry Harris(Patrick Wilson), the son of their housekeeper, now a doctor, who is the love of her life. But to be frank, everybody loves Harris.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Evening" has a great cast which is nice but the performances are inconsistent to say the least. Toni Collette is by far the best but Claire Danes is very much miscast. Lacking any kind of vision, the movie is told very conventionally with a couple of moments of imagination. It is ironic when you consider that the movie celebrates the very notion of convention. It is about characters who always manage to take the safe way out.(If I have any regrets on my deathbed, it will be for what risks I did not take. I may occasionally think about decisions I have made in the past but I felt they were the right choices at the time and I stand by them.) For men, this would mean a career. For women, marriage and children. This attitude was bad enough in the 1950's but much worse in the present day.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]What would have been much more interesting would have been to give the movie over entirely to a stream of consciousness, having Ann look back on the many focal points in her life(not just her friend's wedding which gets old fast), confusing the past and present in the bargain.(There is some of this but simply not enough.) In the process, the present would be curtailed and this would have been a tighter and better movie.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Note: The pope is coming to town. I'm leaving town. And I will return to these pages on Monday April 28. After that, posting may be a little sporadic due to the NHL playoffs and jury duty.[/font]
But still, I needed a happy ending. Just to make up for all the sadness throughout it. The cast did a wonderful job, very well acted, very believable. And its a pretty good story too. Some of the scenes were very beautifully shot. I liked the backdrops.
However the movie kind of dragged on. I mean its a good movie, but nothing that will stick with me for years to come. Good, but kind of forgettable. Still worth a watch I guess.