The Magnificent Ambersons (2002)
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It strays so far from the book -- and even Welles' "atmosphere" -- that it should have simply been given a different name. Perhaps, if viewed as an entirely different story, it would be entertaining on the Lifetime channel. The bizarre innuendo of mother and son, the depiction of small mountains in the relative flatness of the Midwestern city (Indianapolis), the over-emphasis of a love story instead of the overriding Tarkington theme of change... The point of the story was "change," its effects, and how it was happening in a growing Midwestern city. It just felt cheap. Now, in all fairness, I admit to saying that it has been 11 years since I viewed it.
I gave this 3 stars for the stand-out performances by Gretchen Moll and Bruce Greenwood, but the movie on the whole was a disappointment. I love period pieces which is what attracted me to this but the performances by Davies and Tilly, which I expected to be good, were forced and overdone and made the movie fakey. There's an older version which I liked better.
When I first heard that there was a remake of Orson Welles's THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS based on his original screenplay, I was very intrigued. This could have been a very interesting film. Instead, it suffers heavily from bad performances and a painful made-for-television feel. It was made-for-television, in fact. A lot of the casting is just bad, the lighting and cinematography are drab, and this film is utterly forgettable.
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