Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

Rated R 106 minutes 2017

★★★★★ ★★★★★
It’s fitting that a movie about the magnetism of old-time movie stars revolves around the magnetism of its own star. Director Paul McGuigan adapts the memoir by Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) about his experience as a 26-year-old would-be actor in 1979 Liverpool, beginning a love affair with 55-year-old Oscar-winning actress Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) while she’s living in England to do theater work. The structure moves effectively across time periods, including an ailing Grahame moving into the Turner family home, building compelling drama around what will obviously be a doomed romance. Bell does fine work, but the movie belongs to Bening, who turns Gloria’s flirtatious helium voice and emotional pivots into a fascinating portrait of a woman who can’t bear the prospect of being thought of as old, even if her decisions might kill her. There’s an odd late shift from Peter’s point of view, to show us things that should be obvious from context. All is forgiven, though, after a heartbreaking scene of Gloria performing Shakespeare, conveying how real she could be as an actor, more real than she could be while performing in life as “Gloria Grahame, movie star.”

Film Credits

Official Site: sonyclassics.com/filmstarsdontdieinliverpool

Director: Paul McGuigan

Producer: Barbara Broccoli, Colin Vaines, Stuart Ford, Zygi Kamasa, Paul McGuigan and Michael Wilson

Cast: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Kenneth Cranham, Vanessa Redgrave, Frances Barber and Leanne Best

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