(out of 5)
Dull adaptation of the novel by Carol Shields. Miranda Richardson plays a famous novelist who has decided to write a book about Saskatchewan poet Mary Swann, a woman who scribbled bits of verse down in her notebook on a regular basis before her husband murdered her and then shot himself. Swann’s memory is mostly kept alive by a local librarian (Brenda Fricker) who has set aside a section of her library dedicated to the deceased’s memory. Richardson blows into town looking for research materials, and brings with her a whole sweep of international attention that eventually reveals some rather shocking truths about Swann and her work. Actually, it’s supposed to be shocking, but it isn’t really, and the numbing character details that one has to wade through for most of the film are not rewarded when the final third comes into play. The film is made with a flat, unappealing look, and the two lead actresses are both criminally underused considering their potential.
Directed by Anna Benson Gyles
Cinematography by Gerald Packer
Music by Richard Rodney Bennett
Production Design by John Dondertman
Costume Design by Elisabetta Beraldo
Film Editing by Robin Sales