Film Stars Don’t Die in LiverpoolCultureCinemaMovie reviews
The producers of the James Bond franchise have helped to create a phenomenal, unconventional love story, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. Based on the memoir by Peter Turner, the tale tells of the acclaimed actress, Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening), and her return to Liverpool, England, to a former flame and young English struggling actor, Turner (Jamie Bell), as she receives news of a personal illness.
The execution of the narrative occurs through a series of visually stunning flashbacks, intertwined with scenes from the present, being shown through contrasting colour schemes. Cinematically, director Paul McGuigan plays with perspective and a variation of intimate close-up shots to give emphasis to the idea that every story has two sides. Throughout, we become engulfed in Turner’s thoughts and feelings towards the situation and Grahame herself. As the movie progresses, the perspective changes to the star’s point of view and the audience understand why she is acting in a particular way towards her young lover. The empathy evoked from both sides of the situation provides viewers with a bittersweet reaction, yet is simultaneously incredibly heart-warming, as the two viewpoints merge.
The portrayal of Grahame and Turner by Bening and Bell is phenomenally intense and emotionally fuelled, enhancing the pure passion experienced by the two lovers, leaving the viewer in a state of emotional turbulence as the film reaches its climax. Bening’s Blanche DuBois-esque execution of the 1940s star complements Bell’s struggling actor persona faultlessly, and all is held together by an exquisite supporting cast – including Peter’s mother, Bella (Julie Walters), and his father, Joe (Kenneth Cranham).
Beautifully executed, McGuigan’s adaptation of Turner and Grahame’s relationship is exhibited in a way that is unconventional, yet exceptional, of modern Hollywood. The emotional rollercoaster and settling of each perspective within the cinematic jigsaw gives rise to a more realistic tale of love, ensuring a pleasant few hours no matter the person.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is released nationwide on 17th November 2017.
Watch the trailer for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool here: