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Byline: Glenn Whipp

Film Critic

The turgid turgid /tur·gid/ (ter´jid) swollen and congested.

Swollen or distended, as from a fluid; bloated; tumid.


swollen and congested.
 weeper "Evening" is all about feelings. And since it was co-written by the man who gave us "The Hours," these feelings aren't about, say, the fleeting pleasures you receive from eating a really good ice cream cone An ice cream cone or cornet is a cone-shaped pastry, usually made of a wafer similar in texture to a waffle, in which ice cream is served, allowing it to be eaten without a bowl or spoon. , or holding your child's hand as you take a walk by the ocean.

No. Everyone in "Evening" is battling feelings of regret and loss, feelings of woe or, as Morris Albert put it all those years ago, "feelings, whoa-whoa-whoa, feeeeeelings."

Feelings. Woe. Exactly. "Evening" is the feel-bad movie of the year, maybe the decade, maybe of eternity. It's about feeling regret and talking about it and talking about it and then, for good measure, talking about it some more. There are more speeches in this movie than you'd hear at a convention of envelope-stuffers, only the content here, for all of its pseudo-intellectual burnish, isn't nearly as interesting.

"And now, the end is near. And so I face the final curtain." Like the singer of "My Way" (another song that should have been on the soundtrack), Ann Lord (Vanessa Redgrave Vanessa Redgrave, CBE (born 30 January, 1937) is an Academy Award-winning English actress and member of the Redgrave family, one of the enduring theatrical dynasties. She is also a social activist for human rights. ) is on her deathbed, looking back and remembering a life that's had "its share of losing." Her two unpleasant, grown daughters -- self-satisfied family gal Constance (Natasha Richardson) and terminally unhappy Bohemian chick Nina (Toni Collette) -- wait for her last breath and puzzle over Verb 1. puzzle over - try to solve
cerebrate, cogitate, think - use or exercise the mind or one's power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions, or arrive at a solution or judgments; "I've been thinking all day and getting nowhere"
 her fever-dream ramblings.

Who is this Harris that mother calls her "only love"? And what about this Buddy? Did mom really kill him? Director Lajos Koltai jerks us back in time -- and then forward and back, forward and back -- a rhythmic process that attempts to evoke the fleeting nature of time and the vagaries of memory but only succeeds in unnecessarily complicating what is in fact a simple romance straight from the Harlequin playbook.

Harris (Patrick Wilson) is the handsome doctor who the young Ann (Claire Danes) fell for while acting as a bridesmaid for old-money rich girl Lila (Mamie Gummer Mamie Gummer (born August 3, 1983) is an American actress.

Gummer was born Mary Willa Gummer,[1] the daughter of Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep and sculptor Don Gummer. She grew up in Los Angeles and Connecticut.
), who has had the hots for Harris since she was, like, 15 -- only when she kissed Harris, he didn't kiss her back, so, oh well and boo hoo. Harris does kiss Ann back, much to the consternation of Lila's sweaty, drunk brother Buddy (Hugh Dancy Hugh Dancy (born 19 June 1975) is an English actor. Biography
Early life
Dancy was born in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, the son of eminent British philosopher Jonathan Dancy, a professor at the University of Reading and the University of Texas at Austin.
), who loves both Harris and Ann.

Buddy's closeted clos·et·ed  
Being In a state of secrecy or cautious privacy.
 homosexuality is but one of a million character details that goes missing in the way Michael Cunningham Michael Cunningham (born November 6, 1952) is an award-winning American writer, best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999.  ("The Hours") and Susan Minot Susan Minot /'maɪ.nət/ (b. 7 December 1956) is an American prize-winning novelist and short story author.

Born in Manchester, Massachusetts, Minot graduated from the Columbia University School of the Arts in 1983.
 adapt Minot's dream-like novel. Issues of class and money are touched upon trivially, though never explored. Characters are types, not people, existing mostly just to open emotional veins and frown.

The biggest head-scratcher is Harris, who's the first to admit that he's "not that much fun." You know what Ann sees in him; Kate Winslet <noinclude></noinclude>

Kate Elizabeth Winslet (born October 5, 1975) is a five-time Academy Award-nominated, Emmy Award-nominated, BAFTA, Grammy and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning English actress.
 saw the same thing when Wilson did his hunka-hunka thing in "Little Children." But it's a long leap from a wedding-party quickie to a "Gone With the Wind" epic romance, and frankly, it's hard to give a damn Verb 1. give a damn - show no concern or interest; always used in the negative; "I don't give a hoot"; "She doesn't give a damn about her job"
care a hang, give a hang, give a hoot

And what of the cast, which also includes Meryl Streep, Glenn Close and Eileen Atkins and has the novelty of pairing two sets of mothers and daughters (Redgrave and Richardson, Streep and Gummer)? They have their moments, particularly Streep in what's essentially a cameo and Danes, who does her level-headed best to remain strong when surrounded by silliness.

But the moments are fleeting. "It all went by so fast," Redgrave's Ann moans at one point. If only, Ann. If only.

Glenn Whipp, (818) 713-3672

EVENING - One and one half stars

(PG-13: sexual material, brief violence, depression)

Starring: Claire Danes, Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Toni Collette.

Director: Lajos Koltai.

Running time: 1 hr. 57 min.

Playing: In wide release.

In a nutshell: Woman on deathbed dredges up regrets, as does everyone around her in a turgid weeper that will engender regret in its paying audience as well.




Real-life daughter and mother Natasha Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave take their relationship to the screen in the emotionally draining film "Evening."
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 29, 2007

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