Director: Lajos Koltai (USA – 2007)
Lajos Koltai’s overreaching, emotionally detached adaptation of Susan Minot’s novel about New England bluebloods who wallow in self-perpetuated angst unfolds in a series of histrionic flashbacks and is narrated from the deathbed of one such, the sporadically sedated Anne Lord (Vanessa Redgrave).
She drifts through memories of the day she attended the high-society wedding of her best friend, Lila Wittenborn (Mamie Gummer) and fell in love with Harris (Patrick Wilson), a handsome doctor who is destined to become the ‘man that got away’ for both women.
Koltai attempts a Sirkian aesthetic, with deep focus shots and heavy symbolism but misfires on almost every level, as in a wince inducing sequence where a manic Anne lurches through the house, pursuing hallucinatory butterflies. No doubt ‘Evening’ will draw a curious audience in view of its pedigree cast, but with performances ranging from the hysterical (Glenn Close and Redgrave) to the hopelessly wooden (Wilson), and an insipid contribution from Claire Danes as the young Anne, the film disintegrates into an indulgent succession of intense, fawning exchanges that overwhelm Minot’s thin and monotonous tale.
Time Out (London) – Issue 1935 – 19th September 2007 – 64