Twelve years ago, Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count on Me established itself as a remarkable film, one that was smart and touching and memorable and featured a hell of a performance from Mark Ruffalo. Here's a terrible trailer for it:
Promise—the actual movie is roughly four billion times better than that thing makes it look. Anyway, after getting tons of acclaim and nabbing some pretty serious prizes at Sundance, you'd think Lonergan would've followed up You Can Count on Me with something equally interesting. And he sort of did, except that movie—Margaret, starring Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Ruffalo, and more—pretty much never came out. The New York Times Magazine has a solid piece on Lonergan and the story behind his latest, and possibly final, film:
When Lonergan began shooting the film in 2005, after taking two years to write the screenplay, Margaret had a lot going for it. When it was finally released six years later, in late 2011—after a brutal and bitter editing process; a failed attempt by no less a cinematic eminence than Martin Scorsese to save the project; and the filing of three lawsuits—several serious film people called it a masterpiece. And almost no one saw it.
The whole piece is worth reading if you're even remotely interested in film, theater, writing, people being dicks, Quicken Loans, and/or the too-familiar hallmarks of the Hollywood meat grinder: "art versus money; a clash of creative visions; a promising project mangled in the gears of the Hollywood apparatus."
Margaret comes out on DVD and Blu-ray in early July; I'll review it for the Mercury and/or Blogtown then.