We get a nice double weekend of Saoirse Ronan this month with The Seagull and On Chesil Beach (for film lovers who scope out the lesser heard of films). On Chesil Beach is the film that I’m really anticipating but The Seagull was the first stop. Went in blind to this one without even seeing the trailer. The film is based on the Russian play of the same name, by Anton Chekov. Not sure how faithful the film is to its literary source but I was mixed on the presentation in the film.
The film is about an aging actress and her lover who go to visit her brother in the summer. Her son is a struggling playwright who struggles to strive for his moms acceptance. He is in a relationship with a young neighborhood girl (played by Ronan). She falls in love with the lover of the aging actress, who himself falls for her. That might have been the worst explained synopsis I’ve ever written. Its much easier to understand while watching the film.
The film posts great set design, cinematography, and costume design. The film looks of its locale and time period. I’m not familiar with any of Michael Mayer’s work but I’m sure his background in theater direction helps with the aesthetics of the film. The film also boasts a rather terrific cast. Along with Ronan we get a very good Annette Bening and an unfortunately underutilized Elisabeth Moss. There is slight humor here and there which bring chuckles but overall its not so easy to care for the labored love of the characters or their relationship.
I guess for me I wasn’t a gigantic fan of the source material and found it hard to place the importance of the adaptation of this story. It’s still very respectably made and well acted, it just isn’t something that spoke to me or left a lasting impression. Moss was one of the better characters (along with her lover) and they don’t get enough screen time. Its often fun but not always compelling, unfortunately.