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Margaret (2011)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 80
Fresh: 57 | Rotten: 23

A surfeit of ideas contributes to Margaret's excessive run time, but Anna Paquin does a admirable job of guiding viewers through emotional hell.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 14

A surfeit of ideas contributes to Margaret's excessive run time, but Anna Paquin does a admirable job of guiding viewers through emotional hell.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 7,090

My Rating

Movie Info

Margaret centers on a 17-year-old New York City high-school student who feels certain that she inadvertently played a role in a traffic accident that has claimed a woman's life. In her attempts to set things right she meets with opposition at every step. Torn apart with frustration, she begins emotionally brutalizing her family, her friends, her teachers, and most of all, herself. She has been confronted quite unexpectedly with a basic truth: that her youthful ideals are on a collision course



Kenneth Lonergan

Jul 10, 2012


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Latest News on Margaret

September 29, 2011:
Critics Consensus: 50/50 is Certified Fresh
This week at the movies, we've got a survivor story (50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth...


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All Critics (81) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (23) | DVD (5)

Ambitious, affecting, unwieldy and haunting, it's an eccentric, densely atmospheric, morally hyper-aware masterpiece...

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a passionate, fascinating mess, like its abrasive main character.

February 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Messy but masterful; a sprawling portrait of what it means to be a bright young woman who's realizing that the world isn't the warm bath of acceptance that her privileged life would indicate.

January 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

January 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For all its awkwardness and uncertainty, the film is a city symphony, romantic yet scathing, lyrical with street life and vaulting skylines, reckless with first adventure...

October 10, 2011 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Margaret is a mess. An impressive mess, but a mess nonetheless.

October 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The coming-of-age pic has a sense of deeply felt gravity.

July 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Margaret is a pointless coming-of-age drama starring Anna Paquin that tediously meanders on for two and half hours before ending with a whimper.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

This is an America in which nobody listens, the end always justifies the means, and it's always the other guy's fault. Blame is tricky when everyone is failing everyone.

November 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Response

... it should be commended for attempting to tackle something as basic - and insurmountable - as a single human emotion.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: The Aristocrat
The Aristocrat

Epic and personal, challenging and strange.

July 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Twitch

It has its flaws, but I defy you to find a more intelligent or impassioned American film this year.

July 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Leonard Maltin's Picks
Leonard Maltin's Picks

An epic drama whose significance is symbolized by citations from Shakespeare and the operatic world.

July 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Compuserve

Margaret is an absorbing character study headlined by a wonderful performance from Anna Paquin.

July 9, 2012 Full Review Source: ABC Radio Brisbane
ABC Radio Brisbane

Presumably Lonergan meant Margaret to be a tapestry. Instead, it's a series of incongruous threads.

June 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Moviedex

In a sterling central performance, Anna Paquin (True Blood; The Piano) is outstanding as she courses through a broad palette of hard-edged emotions in this searing post-9/11 drama about honesty and culpability.

June 26, 2012 Full Review Source: 3AW

Its commentary on the nature of performance and its political subtext make for an unconventional end product.

June 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

If you wanted to see this troubled, acclaimed, mishandled movie, you had to go to New York, Los Angeles, or fly 40,000 feet above the Earth. Talk about a limited release.

June 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Quickflix

What's here is borderline camp at times, intermittently revealing a promise of brilliance perhaps left behind for good in 2005.

February 22, 2012 Full Review Source:

It's a challenging movie, but it pays off in big ideas and stunning performances.

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Rather like Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, which also starred Matt Damon, there is certainly a good film in here trying to get out and there's a neatly-emotional ending, but it's not as consistent as [director Kenneth Longergan's] You Can Count on Me.

February 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Never has a troubled film project's off-screen drama played out so clearly in the release product.

February 3, 2012 Full Review Source:

Ambitious, stunningly-acted, smart, and astoundingly not outstaying its welcome despite a beefy run time, Margaret is destined to become a cult classic.

January 25, 2012 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

Audience Reviews for Margaret

Featuring a star studded cast, this is writer/director Kenneth Lonergan's epic, operatic look at a high schooler's loss of innocence.

I should note that I watched the extended cut, which runs about 186 minutes.

17 year-old Lisa is a privileged upper class Jewish girl who, while out shopping, inadvertently causes a traffic accident that leads to a gruesome death. Feeling guilty, she tries to set things right, but in the process, experiences a very grueling and emotional journey. The film also charts her rocky relationship with her mother, as well as career as a student, which involves heavy classroom debates, and questionable relations with a teacher.

I used the term operatic, and that wasn't an accident. In fact, opera is a recurring motif throughout. And this is a very full film, stuffed to the gills with characters, storylines, and a sweeping scope.

And, that's kinda the problem here. I saw the extended cut, which is just about 30 minutes longer than the theatrical release. Not having seen the shorter version, I can't say if this longer cut is better or not. Quick research tells me that this longer cuts does tie some loose ends, and fleshes some stuff out, but man, is it a chore to sit through.

This film had a troubled production, and took several years to get released. I don't know the details, but apparently it had something to do with this film's very high level of ambition and weighty subject matter. I can respect this film for having a strong vision, but can also safely say that this just wasn't for me.

For one thing, this film, in broad terms, is a lot like Paranoid Park. Same general premise, but with a few tweaks. Only thing is, that film was half as long, and got the point across a lot better and easier. I'm okay with long films, and even some long slow films, but this particular long slow film was a real endurance test.

It's emotionally grueling, but also really repetitive, long, and slow. And, there's not much in the way of levity either. And like I said, Paranoid Park did it more compactly.

I did enjoy the cast here, though. And yes, they give some strong performances. Those two things, along with the cinematography are probably the best, if only reasons I didn't rate this one lower. Anna Paquin is great, and very believable. Mark Ruffalo is good, and shows his range. Matt Damon was at first a tad hard to swallow as a younger teacher, but he grew on me. Broderick likewise managed to pull a decent performance as well. Her part is brief, but I feel the need to give special praise to Allison Janney- the traffic accident scene is easily one of the most gripping, gut wrenching, and effective sequences of recent years, and definitely of one this film's highlights.

All in all, I think that some of this is pretty well made, but it's a bit too long, too slow, pretentious, and repetitive to endure...especially with such grim subject matter.
September 3, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

I tried to like this movie. It was full of very familiar faces, but that wasn't enough for me. It just seemed to go on, and on, with very few changes. It became pointless to me, and I actually had to end it by the 2hr mark...
May 10, 2013

Super Reviewer

First of all, for Ruffalo fans: Mark Ruffalo`s appereance in the Movie was like a "cameo".

Second: As much other reviewers has been focusing on Director but not many mentioned the Plot or the Actors, especiall the Plot, I thought to give a small clue to all those who are interested.

to movie::
I think the accident what the plot is based on was just a subsidiary. I think all around I had the feeling it was about the problems Teenages are confronted with these days. Interesting were the conversations and Debattes in classrooms. And other small things which we actually all know from our teenage years.
I had to rate it at four. All around this Movie make sense atlast if you really pay attention.

I would recommend it to deep thinkers.

A user:

This movie kind of went there and dies

I thought that at first too, as said deep thinking is required I guess.
October 3, 2012
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

This movie kind of went there and dies. It set a plot right off the bat and that was it. Enjoyable yes, interesting ahhh? The acting just wasn't then best can only give it 3 Stars 8-17-12
September 20, 2012
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

    1. Lisa Cohen: [crying] I feel so bad about what happened, and I'm trying so hard to do something about it.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Maretti: Your going to go home, do your homework, and I'm gonna loose my job! And who's gonna take care of my family? You?
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
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