Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

So what do you do when the decorations are up, your guests have arrived, the music is playing, and the mood is just right? You send everyone home and call it a night if you're one of the makers of this movie, which puts in place some talented actors, great set design, a fabulous score by Duncan Sheik, and an unusually emotive tone, but does nothing much with them. In its rush to cover thirty years of plot from the book, the movie (adapted by original novelist Michael Cunningham) skips the little moments that make these lives worth watching; every other scene involves moving in, moving out, somebody being born, somebody dying; you know the score. The movie is melodramatic in its heart, with a spectacularly ridiculous death scene in the opening minutes and clumsy foreshadowing & symbolism throughout, but director Michael Mayer does his best to reign in with a gentle touch the plot's enthusiasm for its own twists. The main character comes through vividly, a slow-witted but charming young man who spends his lifetime quietly fighting against the demons of his orphaned youth, and Colin Farrell brings a crucial magnetism to the part. But the tick-tock of the running time keeps the film speeding by at an unappealing pace, and too many ridiculous scenes (Sissy Spacek tries pot? Colin Farrell is a 24-year-old virgin?) keep the film grounded in mediocrity no matter how solid its indie cred. It has its charms, but not enough of them. This one simply got away.

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