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BASED on a true story, director Paul McGuigan's drama charts a starcrossed romance across class and cultural divides, conducted in the shadow of terminal illness.

In the summer of 1979, jobbing actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) and Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) are neighbours in a London guesthouse.

It is more than two decades since Gloria's halcyon years, which included an Oscar win for The Bad And The Beautiful, but Peter is smitten.

He follows her to America and meets Gloria's indomitable mother Jeanne McDougall (Vanessa Redgrave) and jealous older sister Joy (Frances Barber).

Peter is taken aback by the simplicity of his sweetheart's home - a trailer on the beach - but Gloria is content without the glitz of her studio days. He struggles to find work and when Gloria receives a devastating diagnosis, she ends the affair to spare her beau greater pain.

Two years later, she returns to the UK for a stage role and collapses in her dressing room. In her hour of need, Gloria calls for Peter and he takes charge of her recuperation in the home he shares with his father Joe (Kenneth Cranham), mother Bella (Julie Walters) and brother Joe Jnr (Stephen Graham).

Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool elegantly navigates the highs and lows of Peter and Gloria's turbulent relationship. The smouldering sensuality of Bening and Bell is complemented by robust, earthy supporting performances.

Walters provides the lion's share of broad comic relief as a house-proud mam, who isn't best pleased when Peter arrives unannounced with glamorous company.

"You should have given me some warning. I would have put the electric blanket on!" she trills.

The two leads generate enough heat to keep the entire house toasty warm.


Annette Bening as Gloria and Jamie Bell as Peter

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 17, 2017
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