THINGS WERE decidedly easier for Hollywood statutory rapists in the Golden Age of film. Without the pervasiveness of TMZ, Perez Hilton, and countless other gossip sites, these Lolita-loving lotharios only had to contend with a limited number of Tinsel Town sleaze rags and a public with a notoriously short memory.
Take, for example, Errol Flynn (Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood)—the swashbuckling actor who barely escaped prosecution for bedding two underage girls in 1942—who began an affair with 15-year-old Beverly Aadland in the late '50s. This sordid tale is dramatized in The Last of Robin Hood, starring Kevin Kline as Flynn, Dakota Fanning as Beverly, and Susan Sarandon as inscrutable stage mother Florence Aadland, whose aspirations for fame practically pushed her daughter into Errol's bed.
And yet, for such a scandalous tale, The Last of Robin Hood is annoyingly tame and bloodless. Writers/directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (best known for their work on America's Next Top Model... oh dear) are in waaaay over their heads in establishing a workable, believable tone, with the results more closely resembling a Lifetime movie... that has some of the most amazing individual performances you'll see all year.
Umm... not from Dakota Fanning, though. While she may be eternally youthful in our minds, Fanning seems too old to play this role, and like her directors, is out of her league. However, Sarandon is fantastic as Beverly's likeably overbearing mom, providing layers of depth that clearly weren't in the script. And Kline gives an amazing, effortless performance that should be viewed as a master class in acting. Unfortunately, their unforgettable performances are stuck in an entirely forgettable movie.