Bothersome New York City high-school student Lisa Cohen (17), who consistently messes up her life and that of boy classmates, searches New York in vain for a fit cowboy hat to wear at an excursion with her separated father and stepmother. Spotting one on bus driver Maretti's head but failing to board, she stubbornly runs along and keeps claiming his confused attention, until the bus hits a blind senior, who is wounded fatally The NYPD quickly closes the case as an accident, but Lisa, duly consumed by guilt and spared any charge, starts bothering everyone and making a mean pest of herself, not only at home, as self-absorbed actress mother may deserve, but also in the precinct, tracking down the victim's uninterested kin out of town and even Maretti at home. A family friend lawyer gets involved in the case, digging in to compromising circumstances and causing real trouble to people who were of the hook.Written by
Some reports claim that the theatrical cut of the film, is the version edited by Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker, not Kenneth Lonergan. But, in a 2012 IndieWire interview, Lonergan refers to both the theatrical cut and the extended cut released on home video as his own. See more »
When Lisa visits her math teacher at home, her hands move between shots: when she is seen from behind the teacher her her arms are crossed, in the next shot they are beside her body, then they are crossed again. See more »
A red light case is a 50-50 proposition already.
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Extended version released on DVD runs for 178 minutes. See more »
A painfully brilliant journey to the emotional center of a Post-9/11 Earth
To summarize "Margaret" would be like summarizing a pond in a forest. It is about all things at once and one thing in particular. Add to this confusion the observation that what this "one thing in particular" is depends on the viewers individual point of view.
To read that Kenneth Lonergans second movie was fraught with troubles on the productive as well as the creative end somehow doesn't seem to be surprising after you've watched it.
"Margaret" is, not unlike its heroine Lisa Cohen (an astounding accomplishment by Anna Paquin), a very uncompromising film. It gives us a sense, and almost an overall conclusion of the first decade of the 21st century. A decade of fear, grieve, revenge, blame, hypocritical use of political correctness and ultimately a decade of deep sadness about what the madness on both sides turned the world into.
It is also an unflinching look at the way society and life somehow seem at odds with each-other. The basic premise of a high school girl whose involvement in an accident leads her on a difficult journey to find her own and the worlds moral center, is very much emblematic of how the western world started to confront outside forces from other societies and the random nature of how the balance of power can shift into unchartered waters.
Roger Ebert once wrote about Oliver Stone's JFK: "(It) is a brilliant reflection of our unease and paranoia, our restless dissatisfaction." He surmised that this movie wasn't about facts but about an emotional state.
In a calm, brilliantly acted and superbly crafted movie, Lonergan achieves a similar feat. He produced a movie about our present, and through it shows that the emotional state of this past decade will linger on for a long time.
Whatever our political views, our perception of right and wrong, our moral values and ultimately our failings as human beings are, Lonergan shows, as he did with "You Can Count On Me", that to accept that we are human and have a need for resolution and redemption in places where none is to be found, may turn not the world at large, but the one in us, towards a better tomorrow.
In the years after September 11th I sometimes had to think about the last line of Alan Pakula's film "Presumed Innocent": "There was a crime. There was a victim. And there is *punishment*. "
"Margaret" to me is about that punishment. Our need for it, and the pain it causes those who exact it.
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