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83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia and Reverie - A Cinematic Mood Piece
Criticism of the film EVENING, based on the novel by Susan Minot and adapted for the screen by Minot and Michael Cunningham, has been harsh, so harsh that it may have discouraged many viewers from giving the film a try. The primary criticism has centered on the fact that very little happens in this film about a dying woman's fretting over a mistake she made one summer in...
Published on September 26, 2007 by Grady Harp

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70 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superb performances alone simply cannot rescue EVENING from mediocrity.
This will undoubtedly be the toughest review that I have ever written. I went into this film with the highest of expectations. I was not disappointed with any of the acting as it is uniformly superb (surprisingly most from Hugh Dancy in a "Greek Chorus" commentary performance that I found truly touching!).Oscar nods for acting would not surprise me in the least for a...
Published on June 30, 2007 by KerrLines


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83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia and Reverie - A Cinematic Mood Piece, September 26, 2007
By 
This review is from: Evening (DVD)
Criticism of the film EVENING, based on the novel by Susan Minot and adapted for the screen by Minot and Michael Cunningham, has been harsh, so harsh that it may have discouraged many viewers from giving the film a try. The primary criticism has centered on the fact that very little happens in this film about a dying woman's fretting over a mistake she made one summer in her youth, that famous actors were given very minor roles, that the entire production was over-hyped, etc. For this viewer, seeing the film on a DVD in the quiet of the home, a very different reaction occurred.

Ann Grant Lord (Vanessa Redgrave) is dying in her home by the ocean and her medication and memories allow her to share a man's name - 'Harris' - with her two grown daughters Nina (Toni Colette) and Constance (Natasha Richardson). As her daughters sit at her bedside Ann relives a particular summer when she was a bridesmaid for her best friend Lila (Mamie Gummer) - a marriage both Ann (Claire Danes as the youthful Ann) and Lila's alcoholic brother Buddy (Hugh Dancy) objected to, feeling that Lila was simply marrying a man of her class instead of the boy she had loved - Harris Arden (Patrick Wilson), her housekeeper's son who had become a physician. Harris, Buddy, Lila, and Ann are woven together in a series of infatuations and romances that have been kept secret until now, 50 years later, as Ann is dying. The older Lila (Meryl Streep) visits Ann at the end and the secrets are revealed: 'there are no such things as mistakes - life just goes on.'

The film is a delicate mood piece and the script by Minot and Cunningham is rich in atmosphere and subtle life lessons. Yes, there are gaps in the story that could have used more explanation, but in order to maintain the aura of nostalgia of a dying lady's words, such 'holes' are understandable. The film is graced by the presence of not only Redgrave, Richardson (Redgrave's true daughter), Collette, Gummer (Streep's true daughter), Meryl Streep, Claire Danes, Eileen Atkins, Glenn Close, Hugh Dancy and Patrick Wilson, but also with an ensemble cast of brief but very solid performances. The setting is gorgeous (cinematography by Gyula Pados) and the musical score is by the inimitable Jan A.P. Kaczmarek. Lajos Koltai ("Being Julia') directs. Judge this film on your own.... Grady Harp, September 07
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70 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superb performances alone simply cannot rescue EVENING from mediocrity., June 30, 2007
This will undoubtedly be the toughest review that I have ever written. I went into this film with the highest of expectations. I was not disappointed with any of the acting as it is uniformly superb (surprisingly most from Hugh Dancy in a "Greek Chorus" commentary performance that I found truly touching!).Oscar nods for acting would not surprise me in the least for a number of these fine professionals! I was charmed and lulled with Jan A.P. Kaczmerak's hauntingly poignant original soundtrack. The camera shots are beautiful. The set design and costumes are appropriately period.I will probably remember much of what I saw and mull it over in the coming years.I truly wanted to be bowled over by this film, but I left the theatre feeling flat, confused and unfulfilled. The shifting back and forth between the time frames was not at all a problem (I was already comfortable with THE HOURS and THE NOTEBOOK and YA-YA) so that wasn't it.

My conclusion was that the screenplay just simply didn't come together in a way that made me feel or identify with the characters. I felt that the entire film left loose ends dangling and that each character was not developed enough for me to feel as though I knew and understood their longings, fears, motivations and angst.There are so many unanswered questions in this screenplay that seemed to never have any explanation or resolution. (There is one glaring continuity error concerning Buddy and Anne's College days that those of us who saw it questioned how the script supervisor could have missed it!) The movie seemed to try to be deeper than it really was, and that much ado was made about nothing. If this film is about life's regrets and missed chances, mother-daughter relationships, women's limited choices in the 1950's and the folly and "caste" system of the New England wealthy then I have definitely seen all of that done better and far more effectively elsewhere.

My closing remark is WHY WOULD ANYONE HAVE OBSESSED OVER HARRIS ARDEN???? The character was so underdeveloped that apart from being a good looking Patrick Wilson, WHAT WAS THIS CHARACTER'S ALLURE?

I really feel bad that 3 1/2 stars is the best I can do for EVENING. This movie, adapted from Susan Minot's novel,seems to me one of the film industry's best missed chances that perhaps they will regret as a mistake.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spend An Evening With These Fine Actresses, June 25, 2007
By 
Caught a special screening of the film and I was just blown away by the performances. It's one thing to know that these actresses are in the film but to then see them together on the screen is a joy.

If you're a fan of The Notebook you'll love this film. It's a sweeping romance that takes place against a beautiful backdrop of the New England cliffside. The cinematography takes full advantage of the location.

Claire Danes has come to visit her good friend on her wedding weekend and she gets swept up in a romance with Harris, played by Patrick Wilson. Too bad for Hugh Dancy's character, cause he's got some issues.

This is all happening in flashback as Claire Danes' character, now played by Vanessa Redgrave, recounts the tale to her grown daughters.

The performances are top notch. Meryl Streep shows up later in the film but I don't want to spoil it. I cried at least five times throughout the film and I can't wait to see it again.

Highly recommended!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Enchanting, June 25, 2007
I saw a screening of this film last week and it was absolutely breathtaking. Each shot is absolutely gorgeous. Think of the hours but more scenic. The visuals made the entire film feel like a dream, as if you were the main character- Vanessa Regrave- looking back on her life. The beauty of the film was matched with the talent in the film. Each actress had an unbelievable performance. With a cast like this, it is hard to believe that performances would be anything less then perfect and trust me they live up to this standard. The story was moved along beautifully with each performance, each shot, and the overall story by Susan Minot.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Evening of Magnetic Movie..., September 28, 2007
By 
S. Ilkay "Perfectionist" (California, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Evening (DVD)
Evening: A star-studded film from the director Lajos Koltai; a poetic master piece with Vanessa Redgrave, Glenn Close and Meryl Streep in towering roles. It tells the story of friendships, doomed relationships and secret loves that end with broken hearts. The story is being told like a water color painting set in 1950s upper class East Coast America.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking views and Breathtaking performances, June 25, 2007
Saw this Saturday night at the Provincetown Film Festival, and it's a stick-to-your-bones movie -- it's really stayed with me. Adapted very smartly from what is probably an excellent novel, it's a back-and-forth-in-time drama with fully rounded characters, thoughtful rumination on life choices, and, I'm not exaggerating. one of the greatest casts ever assembled in 100+ years of movie-making. Wonderful work from everyone, led by a luminous Vanessa Redgrave as a dying, deluded Newport matron, and Claire Danes as her much younger self. Meryl Streep's daughter Mamie Gummer is, like Mama, the real deal; Patrick Wilson looks like Paul Newman circa 1958 and doesn't overplay the charm; and what a pleasure to see such excellent stage actors as Barry Bostwick and Eileen Atkins contributing sharp, detailed cameos. Hugh Dancy, also from the stage, doesn't bring much edge to the somewhat clichéd role of an unhappy rich wastrel, and the family issues are resolved perhaps more neatly than real life would allow. But it's a deliberately paced, visually gorgeous meditation on real life issues, and you can cry at it and not feel like you're being recklessly manipulated. Also, what a sumptuous parade of 1940s/50s automobiles.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, October 5, 2007
By 
Michelaneous by Michele (Sandy Point Resort, Northwoods Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Evening (DVD)
This story goes back and forth in time--through dreamlike memories of a dying woman--as she tries to piece together an important chapter of her life. Claire Danes plays the young "Ann" during a weekend in 1953 when she is the Maid of Honor at her best friend's wedding. There she meets a man, Harris, with whom she unexpectedly falls in love. Their moments together--what ultimately only seem like moments in a very long life--are romantic and memorable, and they forever have stars in the sky to remind them of one another after they travel separate paths through adulthood. For the aged Ann (played by Vanessa Redgrave), Harris was the one that got away.

Ann's adult daughters, (Toni Collette and Natasha Richardson) keeping vigil at her deathbed, clearly love their mother and were clearly loved by her. The daughters each face their own (relatively mundane) struggles, but struggles nonetheless, and want very much for their mother to provide the answers and continue to show them the way toward fulfillment.

This is a beautiful movie, and I recommend especially for mothers, daughters, sisters and best friends. I loved it.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We Were All In Love With Harris", July 5, 2007
Based on the Susan Minot's novel by the same name with a screenplay written by her and Michael Cunningham (THE HOURS) and starring Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave and Glenn Close, three of the best living actresses, EVENING would have to be worth seeing and indeed it is. Ann (Vanessa Regrave), bedridden, terminally ill and in and out of dementia, mumbles the word "Harris," a name unknown to both her grown daughters Constance (Natasha Richardson, Redgrave's own daughter) and Nina (Toni Collette). The audience soon learns, as the plot jumps back and forth between the present and the 1950's, that Harris (played by the young Kevin Costner look-alike Patrick Wilson) is someone that everybody was in love with, including the young Ann (Claire Danes) and her best friend Lila (Mamie Gummer), although both women married other men. Ann's daughters do not find out Harris' identity until late in the film.

Although the film is sentimental and predictable, it is saved by acting of the highest order. The friend I saw the movie with was blown away, in her words, by Redgrave's performance; but I, as always, was besotted by Ms. Streep who only appears near the end of the film in a very small role as the elder Lila-- she describes herself as an "old lady"-- but is, as always, perfect. (Watch her, for instance, as he descends the stairs with the caution that only an older person has.) Of course it is not difficult to see her as Lila in old age since her own daughter who bears an eerie resemblance to her of course plays the younger Lila. Glenn Close as the stylish matron and mother of Lila is wonderful. Buddy (Hugh Dancy) as Close's troubled and often inebriated son is good as well.

The film is about missed opportunities (see Ian McEwan's treatment of a similar theme in his latest novel ON CHESIL BEACH), first loves, settling for less, but at the end of life-- the elder Lila says that she has been both extremely happy and very unhappy-- it all seems to even out, at least in EVENING.

This is one of those movies that I liked much more the day after seeing it and upon recollection, a good sign that it indeed is a fine film.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Poignant, June 22, 2009
This review is from: Evening (DVD)
The greatest strength of this movie is in the characters and their portrayal. All of the central characters have depth and refuse to be mere cardboard characters; each have their own triumphs and difficulties, and all are delightfully human. Yet the story is not confusing or bogged down in character details; it flows between the past and the present, with the line between the two blurred as we see through the eyes of the dying mother. I quite literally laughed and cried with these beautiful characters, who make both the lighthearted dancing and the fateful connections believable and interesting. Life is beautiful, complicated, and tragic, and each of these aspects were given some screen time. The central message of the movie, that life can take unexpected turns and that's okay, was not lost on me.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evening, October 9, 2007
This review is from: Evening (DVD)
Evening

Forget about the charge of "mediocrity" that one reviewer leveled against this movie; it lives up to the high praise of the most positive reviewers.

I purchased this DVD on something of a whim, and after the first viewing, I was afraid I had made a mistake. I wasn't sure I wanted to keep in my permanent collection a movie that seemed to center on a dying lady. But my second viewing of the film totally changed my appreciation of it. It *is* a fully uplifting and beautifully crafted, thoughtful film. Almost every character is crafted as a complex individual, and even though loose ends are not fully tied together, this film has more life reality to it than most films. My advice to would-be viewers is to view the film once, check out the deleted scenes and the extremely helpful "making the movie" section, and then view the film again. If a person is not fully enchanted by the film by then, they have missed something essential about life. No, this film is an edifying paean for living the life one has made without looking backwards. As the ailing Ann (Vanessa Redgrave) hears from the night nurse and from Lila, "there is no such thing as mistakes in life," and, as we learn from the "making the movie" section, the drama of the curtains blowing into the bedroom at the end symbolizes how liberating acceptance of this reality can be. Mr. Sartre, you got it all wrong in "No Exit!"
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Evening
Evening by Lajos Koltai (DVD - 2007)
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