This movie Margaret (which has no character with that name, but taken from a poem) has had a shit storm of post processing nightmares. I think the filming of this film took place somewhere between 2005-2006. Yeah, way back in another lifetime almost.
It was originally scheduled to come out in 2007, but the version of the film the director wanted was about three hours long. What! Studio wasn’t having that, said 150 minutes max. So a lot more editing, a lot more saying “it can’t be done!” Then some lawsuits were issued in 2009. This film was going to take awhile to come out, damn it. Eventually it was put to 150 minutes exactly, with the help of other people. The longer version can be seen on the DVD which comes out nowish, but uhh, I wanted to see the 150 version instead.
All of that is interesting, since this movie is about a long law suit as well.
Lisa (Anna Paquin) is just a girl, either senior in high school or freshman in college. One of the two. Legal is the important point. Still lives at home with her mom though, so a local college if that is the case. She is more or less normal, has some favorite teachers, like Mr. Aaron (Mattttt Damonnnn) who teaches math. Debates in some psychology/politics class.
Well one day she just misses a bus, but runs after it anyways, She is at the door, but the driver (Mark Ruffalo) doesn’t care, even almost makes fun of her. Waving his cowboy hat around. Well this causes him to not pay attention to the road, where he ends up running a red light and slamming over a random woman (Allison Janney). Leg, totally off.
So Lisa and a crowd get to gather around, try to make it so she doesn’t die before an ambulance gets there. Doesn’t happen. Nope, she has a woman freak out and die in her arms, and she is partially to blame. This phases her pretty damn hard. But while giving her testimony, she looks at the driver, and thinks they have a “mutual look” to cover it up, and she says the light wasn’t red from her memory.
Well that guilt tears at her. She becomes more sexually active (than before of not at all) with her classmates (Kieran Culkin) and maybe her teacher. She gets more angry in her debates about terrorism. She tries to reach out to the driver, who isn’t having any of it, saying her recollection of the story is wrong, and doesn’t know why she’d “lie” in the first place.
This makes her mad, so she wants to change her testimony, which is a big problem. Wants to go to court, finds someone who can actually press charges, and part of the reason is just to get the guy fired. Not looking for money (she wouldn’t get any anyways, the family would, who doesn’t know this is even going on). But lots of factors get in her way, which doesn’t help her anger, or help get the justice she feels is necessary.
We also have Matthew Broderick as a small role as a teacher, and Michael Ealy as a legal friend to give advice on all the shenanigans.
Post accidental cause of bus accident syndrome face.
I really cannot imagine a longer version of this movie. Either even more angst and lashing out fight scenes, even more negotiations with a lawyer while trying not to get screwed over, or they took out another subplot entirely and left the others in tact. Who knows. I am pretty sure I won’t try to watch the longer version ever.
I will say yes, Anna Paquin acted pretty great in the movie. I loved the emotion and confusion her character conveyed. But I think they had way too much going on, and a lot of it I didn’t care for.
So well done Anna.
Ruffalo was decent too. But all this movie really teaches us is that life sucks, and then sucks a bit more.
2 out of 4.