A raft of award-winners head up the cast and crew of Evening, but this slick-loooking melodrama heaves under the weight of all those gongs. Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, and Vanessa Redgrave (to name a few) act out Michael Cunningham's (The Hours) co-written script for acclaimed cinematographer-turned-director Lajos Koltai. But before hooking the big names, the producers should have beefed up the story.
Most of the film takes place in flashback as the final recollections of Redgrave's Ann as she takes her final, s-l-o-w shuffle off this mortal coil. Danes is young Ann who, over the weekend of her best friend's blue-blood wedding, becomes part of a big unrequited love mesh between the bride (Mamie Gummer) and the housekeeper's son Harris (Patrick Wilson), who in turn fancies Ann, who is also the object of the bride's brother's (Hugh Dancy) affection, but then he also loves Harris... a recipe for disaster if ever one was spelt out for us. Meanwhile, in the present, Collette and Natasha Richardson star as Ann's daughters, who have their own problems. Being a woman ain't easy, whatever era you live in.
"THE CAST ARE BRILLIANT"
Evening is a slow burner, so slow in fact the credits roll before it ever gets going. There's no doubt the cast are brilliant, but that's what they get paid to do. Koltai's visual heritage is present in the film's sweeping shots of the cliff top house where the fateful wedding takes place, and the whole look of the film is glossy, but underneath there's no mounting dramatic tension in this maudlin tale.
Evening is out in the UK on 21 September 2007.