Lonergan’s ‘Margaret’ is Powerful, ‘Reunion’ Not So Much

by Eric Melin on July 25, 2012

in Blu-ray/DVD Reviews,Reviews

This review originally appeared in shorter form on KSNT-NBC, KTKA-ABC, and KTMJ-FOX Kansas First News.

A long-delayed dramatic movie with some big stars and a not-needed sequel with some actors who probably needed the work are available on Blu-ray and DVD now.

Margaret (2011)

After being filmed in 2005 and languishing in a post-production nightmare for six years, writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s remarkable New York drama Margaret was finally and unceremoniously dumped into just 14 theaters late last year, in a shorter cut than intended.

The full three-hour cut of the movie, starring Anna Paquin as a Manhattan high-school student dealing with severe guilt and the normal growing pains of adolescence, is out now on DVD, while the Blu-ray featuring the two-and-a-half-hour version is in the same package.

Co-starring Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, and Matthew Broderick, Margaret is an engrossing character study with so much insight into human frailty that it’s actually quite disturbing. Lonergan portrays Paquin’s distress with an honesty and wide enough context so that it can be extrapolated to the entirety of post-9/11 New York City.

Character dramas this rich and complicated don’t come along too often, so I see why it scared Fox Searchlight, but it’s one of the best movies of the last couple years. At least it’s now available for serious film fans to see and discuss.

American Reunion (2012)

Also available now is American Reunion, the mildly desperate sequel that will rekindle just enough fond feelings for the original American Pie movie before helping you remember why you haven’t seen many of the original cast members since then.

Once again, Seann William Scott steals the show as Stifler, even if many of the immature jokes are pretty creepy when they are 30-something guys aiming them at high school girls.

The Blu-ray contains lots of inconsequential extras and the 41 minutes of deleted and extended scenes has a gag reel that may be funnier than the entire film.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers and regular critic for KCTV5. He’s a member of the BFCA, VP of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also the current 2013 Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Xavier July 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I still haven’t seen the longer cut of Margaret but I did enjoy the original. From a technical standpoint it is pretty sloppy but it kind of works for a film like that. The writing is astounding though and I wish there’d been time for Lonnergan to produce a definitive cut as I can see a masterpiece within the material if nailed down just a little tighter.

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2 Eric Melin July 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Check out the longer cut–I would say it certainly seems focused, maybe because it has more time to take so many detours with the supporting characters. I still haven’t watched the shorter cut…

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3 Xavier July 25, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I actually read an interview with Lonergan about the new edit, in which he said that he was taking so long on the original because he was having trouble deciding between edits, and in the new version it was easier because he just went with whatever he hadn’t used before. That does make me a little concerned that neither are going to fully realize the potential of the movie and that the new one is still not the definitive cut containing some changes that are improvements and some that are just different or even a step back.

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4 Eric Melin July 27, 2012 at 8:18 am

When you say the “new version,” do you mean the extended or theatrical cut?

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5 Xavier July 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

The extended cut would be the “new version”

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6 Eric Melin July 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Interesting, then, to note that he went with takes he hadn’t used before. Time to watch the shorter version….

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