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As Constance (Natasha Richardson) and Nina (Toni Collette) gather at the deathbed of their mother, Ann (Vanessa Redgrave), they learn for the first time that their mother lived an entire other lifetime during one evening 50 years ago. In vivid flashbacks, the young Ann (Claire Daines) spends one night with a man named Harris (Patrick Wilson), who was the love of her life.

June 09, 2007

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Reviewed by Roger

As Ann Lord (Vanessa Redgrave) lies dying in her Cambridge Massachusetts home in 1998, she relives a life-defining weekend in 1954 when she was invited by her best friend Lila (Mamie Gummer) to be maid of honour at her Newport Rhode Island society wedding.

During the weekend the young Ann (Claire Danes) falls for Harris (Patrick Wilson), the son of the housekeeper and now a doctor, but their affair has disastrous consequences for Lila’s alcoholic brother Buddy (Hugh Dancy).

Most of the film takes place in flashbacks, and as we jump from the sombre present to the golden past and back again, the mysterious circumstances surrounding the weekend unfold for Ann’s daughters Constance (Natasha Richardson) and Nina (Toni Collette), who are also at crossroads in their lives.

Based on the 1998 bestseller by Susan Minot, scripted by Michael Cunningham (The Hours) and directed by Lajos Koltai, and with a cast including some of the biggest female names in Hollywood, including Glenn Close and Eileen Atkins, Evening somehow manages to add up to much, much less than the sum of its parts.

It’s basically soap opera stuff, but beautifully made. If you were a sobbing mess after watching The Hours, The Notebook and The Bridges of Madison County, you should enjoy this movie. If not, it’s maybe not such a good idea to make an evening out of it.

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