This will be the first of several reviews from this year’s Tribeca film Festival. To follow our coverage, click here.
Synopsis: THE SEAGULL is the heartbreaking and funny story of friends and lovers, all of whom are in love with the wrong person. The movie is timely in its depiction of the tragic consequences of narcissism, particularly on young dreams and romantic love. Based on the Play by Anton Chekhov. (Mongrel Media)
Starring: Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, and Billy Howle
Writer: Stephen Karam
Director: Michael Mayer
Rating: PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 98mins
Solely for the fact that it is based on a play, it won’t be for everyone. It’s not hard to guess this while watching as it feels like a play at times and would probably be better suited as a play. The film offers a surplus of characters with different ambitions and stories which makes it hard to follow and distracts from the rest of the story. The characters all have their special quirks and are connected in one way or another but it’s just hard to care for most of them.
The story is about a group of people around a Russian country estate and the only ones who matter are a flamboyant actress named Irina Arkadina (Bening) and her son Konstantin (Howle), a well-known author named Boris Trigorin (Stoll), and a neighbor named Nina (Ronan). The four enter into a complex romantic relationship influenced by their varying personalities and ambitions. Arkadina had her moments but the more interesting characters were Nina and Konstatin (secretly because of Ronan and Howle’s next film, On Chesil Beach, where they have more of a relationship).
The story may not have been there but the acting and the script kept it engaging to watch. There were several funny bits sprinkled in there amongst the drama, however, it was the acting that brought it all together. Bening was great as always as another flamboyant actress (after Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool) as was Ronan as the other extreme.
Overall, this was a decent drama that couldn’t quite overcome its play structure but remains engaging to watch thanks to a smart script and great performances.