Film Stars Don’t Die in LiverpoolLondon Film Festival 2017
11th October 2017 7.15pm at Odeon Leicester Square
12th October 2017 11.30am at Odeon Leicester Square
15th October 2017 8.30pm at Ciné Lumière
The Hollywood movie star is the personification of the American Dream, and snapshots of their lifestyles capture imaginations worldwide. Mansions, fast cars, and fancy restaurants – the height of fame and fortune. But for Classic Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame, things are a little different. Paul McGuigan’s bizarre biopic tracks Grahame’s relationship with Peter Turner (based on his memoir), a much younger Liverpudlian stage-actor. When her health begins to fail, she stays in Turner’s family home, and he is left to ponder the events of their relationship.
Unlike many biopics, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool strums with a stylistic twang. Screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh creates intriguing drifts from past to present, possessing an art-house quality – reminding one of Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead from 2015. Turner would walk down a corridor in 1981 and stumble into 1979. It’s a jarring narrative device, but Greenhalgh and McGuigan use it to produce an innovative stream-of-consciousness effect. The audience feels like they’re moving among pleasant and uncomfortable dreams, supported by Urszula Pontikos’s dazzling cinematography.
Jamie Bell is at the top of his emotional game as Peter Turner, delivering a tear-jerking performance. Annette Bening is perfect for her role, creating a character who looks like she’s constantly suppressing a nervous breakdown. And Julie Waters plays Turner’s mother, which is heartwarming to watch when thinking of Billy Elliott. One senses her maternal love as soon as she walks in.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is an off-the-wall biopic packing a hard emotional punch. The picture excels through Greenhalgh’s snappy, hilarious dialogue, which is thrilling to listen to. It’s easy to place movie stars in mansions, fast cars, and fancy restaurants in our minds – but Gloria prefers a working-class home in Liverpool. McGuigan may attempt to create a uniquely surreal experience, but he didn’t have to. The truth is strange enough already.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is released nationwide on 17th November 2017.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool here: