Filmstars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Directed by Paul McGuigan, starring Annette Benning, Jamie Bell and Julie Walters

There was quite a bit of hype from Telluride about Annette Benning’s amazing performance as Gloria Grahame, 50s film star of hits like The Big Heat and The Greatest Show on Earth. While it was a solid performance, it was not the best of her best. Jamie Bell’s, however, was excellent.

This is a true story based on Peter Turner’s memoirs. As a young man he had an affair with the older Gloria Grahame while she was in Liverpool performing in theatre productions.

This is a slow film. At times it seemed to just plod along. I craved more emotion and depth to their affair. There is one very memorable scene, and in this moment Annette Benning shines and breaks our hearts into a millions of little pieces. She is brilliant, and the film desperately needed more of her brilliance. I was expecting much more from McGuigan, director of exciting fare like Gangster No. 1, Push and Lucky Number Slevin.

I doubt that this film will earn Annette an Oscar nomination. This is unfortunate, as it had a great deal of potential.

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