Thursday, 25 October 2018

The Seagull: Film Review

The Seagull: Film Review

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening, Corey Stoll, Elisabeth Moss, Billy Howle, Brian Dennehy, Mare Winningham
Director: Michael Mayer

Based on the play by Anton Chekhov, director Michael Mayer's take on The Seagull is a light, breezy film that benefits greatly from its core cast.

Bening, Stoll and Ronan all breathe exceptional life into their respective roles.
The Seagull: Film Review

Bening is Irina, an actress whose insecurities stretch to admonishing her son Constantin and mocking his attempts at play-writing. Called in to visit her ailing brother, a tale unfolds of how Constantin met Saoirse Ronan's Nina, an appalling wannabe actress who became his muse.

However, Irina has brought with her the famous writer Boris Trigoran (Stoll, a stoic presence) whose appearance at the family home causes rifts and consternation as all tremble in the shadow of his reputation.

As the rifts deepen, everyone's insecurities increase exponentially...

As mentioned, The Seagull benefits from a career best from Bening, whose scoffing and mocking of those around her surfaces amid her own insecurities. Bening more than delivers, adding touches of nuance when required and bringing the pain to the fore as it's needed.
The Seagull: Film Review

Equally Stoll and Ronan add much to the ensemble as the combination of comedy and drama unfolds; additional support from a growingly unhinged Elisabeth Moss as an infatuated woman lends the necessary scorn to the piece.

However, some of the hints of destruction are not seen on the screen, and with the flashbacks played out only to a point, The Seagull doesn't quite deliver the emotional heft that's necessary in times. An attempted suicide falls flat, a discussion of one character left bereft feels stripped of the heft - granted, it's a different approach but given the denouement relies on the emotion of the past as the script comes full circle from the flashbacks, it feels a little like The Seagull cheats - even if it does follow Chekov's play.

Fortunately, biting dialogue and stellar performances detract from the downsides, and The Seagull takes flight when it needs to, but fails to soar into the skies when it should.

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