Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
United Kingdom/Canada/USA, 2007. CTR, Closing The Ring Ltd., Premiere Picture, Prospero Pictures,Scion Films, Spinster. Screenplay by Peter Woodward. Cinematography by Roger Pratt. Produced by Richard Attenborough, Jo Gilbert. Music by Jeff Danna. Production Design by Tom McCullagh. Costume Design by Hazel Webb-Crozier. Film Editing by Lesley Walker.
In 1991 Michigan, Shirley MacLaine buries her World War II veteran husband and endures the anger of her bitter daughter (Neve Campbell) who feels her mother isn’t showing the proper respect for her deceased father. Across the world in Belfast, Ireland, a chirpy young man goes digging on a hillside and finds a wedding ring whose origin he decides to investigate. The connection between these two stories unfolds layer by layer through flashbacks to the war when Mischa Barton (as the younger MacLaine) experiences a love affair with a pure hearted country boy (Stephen Amell) with repercussions that span decades. Richard Attenborough’s romantic epic has a wonderful, fact-based plot that has the makings of something grander than it turns out to be. The performances are all committed but the emotions are all dampened for some reason. One wishes Attenborough had gone shamelessly the way of English Patient pathos and not tried to make everything seem so real. The film’s best moments are when its Chicken Soup For The Soul-style sentimentality plays simultaneously touching and corny; the rest of the time it’s often flat drama, particularly when the feebly uncharismatic Campbell tries to go head with head with the greats she’s surrounded by (which also include Christopher Plummer).
Toronto International Film Festival: 2007