Take a Load Off, by Scott Nye

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3 Responses

  1. EU Gaer says:

    This is a remarkably thoughtful review of “Margaret”. The film could have done without some of her out-of-school interactions with classmates & teachers (expecially Mr. Aaron) but it well conveys an intelligent teenager’s sense of moral entitlement. Jeannie Berlin was excellent. I still don’t know why it’s called “Margaret”. The G M Hopkins poem read by M. Broderick can’t bear that weight. The father is not a Hollywood film person. His statement about having to deal with a group of 17-year old trainees indicates he’s probably in software development.

  2. EU Gaer says:

    I don’t have naything more to say.

  3. Rose says:

    *spoiler alert*
    I watched this film after seeing a reference to it in an unrelated review. This is the best review of it, and I watched the director’s cut with even more extraneous material. As other reviewers have said, it’s a mess and I don’t know that Lisa’s mother’s Shirley Temple imitation moved the plot forward in any sense. This movie is about teenaged traumas. That’s it and that is all of it. Lonergan makes that clear by the title and its reference during Lisa’s lit class. “It is Margaret you are mourning,” is the significant line from Gerard Manley Hopkins. Lisa is a child buffeted by traumas all around her—her parents’ divorce, 9/11, her mother’s conflicted emotions, the extreme latitude she’s given in school, her absent father, and then the accident itself and the additional trauma of having the dying woman—whose death she inadvertently caused—using her name! Then without any psychological intervention (I kept wanting to yell “see a shrink!”) she screws around, gets involved in busting up her mother’s romance, has an abortion, confronts the possible father of her baby, recants her statement, initiates legal actions, on and on. Honestly, I don’t think I’m the only person who expected her to throw herself in front of Mark Ruffalo’s bus as a coup de grace. When the ending came and went without that I felt relief. Am I alone? I think that is a bit of emotional blackmail on the part of the director really. It seems like her only possible means of resolving her inner conflicts and instead she weeps at the Met like Cher, who also professed to dislike opera.
    So what was Lonergan’s vision for this movie?
    I don’t know, and few others do either, though theories abound. It’s not without merit and I don’t regret seeing all 3+ hours, but I’m still not certain that the director knew how to convey what I think was his actual primary theme:
    That teenagers are very narcissistic especially when surrounded by narcissistic adults. No adults in Lisa’s life have any self-awareness, so they fail to comprehend that she’s a walking disaster who spreads mayhem, chaos and even death wherever she goes because she reflects their own inabilities to put effective boundaries around their own bad behavior and then castigate or indulge her when she does likewise.
    My one stray thought was of the poor hapless younger brother of this messy family, plunking out Claire de Lune on the piano with dogged determination. Perhaps he’ll turn out better.

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