MARGARET

3/1/12 Update: I couldn’t bring myself to go… So I’ve decided to wait until the DVD is out, so I can see if the added footage in the Director’s Cut makes the whole thing more comprehensible to me. So far Amazon has not announced a DVD date, making this whole topic one of the most puzzling episodes in recent memory. I’ve rarely felt so out of sync with some of my Chicago film critic colleagues 🙁

Posted below is what I wrote in my Feb JUFN column, but I want to see Margaret again @ the Siskel Center before I write more… Maybe I missed something the first time?

One of the oddities of this year’s Award Season was a late-breaking critics’ push for Margaret in mid-November. Margaret played here (and in a few other metros) in October, but busy as I was with film festivals, I didn’t see it until December (at a Chicago Film Critics Association screening). Now the Gene Siskel Film Center is bringing it back for another “special run” beginning Feb. 17.

Written and directed by playwright Kenneth Lonergan (whose first film was the much-loved Indie You Can Count on Me starring Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo), Margaret is the story of a troubled high school student named “Lisa Cohen” (played by Oscar-winning actress Anna Paquin). Without going into either a detailed plot synopsis or an overview of Margaret’s controversial history (as it was edited down from the 3-plus hour “Director’s Cut” to the version released in theatres), I must tell you that I left the CFCA screening literally shaking with rage. Even giving Lonergan the benefit of the doubt and assuming much was lost in the editing process, rarely have I seen such despicable caricatures of Jewish women on screen-terrific actors, yes, but horribly misused.

For tickets, visit the Gene Siskel Film Center website.

Click HERE to read the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem Lonergan invokes in the title (“Margaret are you grieving, Over Goldengrove unleaving?”).

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