Kenneth Lonergan can finally breathe a sigh of relief and close a contemptuous chapter in his film-making career — July 10 marked the long-awaited release of the DVD of his 2011 film, “Margaret.”
A beloved playwright and filmmaker, Lonergan began writing the film in 2003 and shot it in three months in 2005. After a six-year editing battle with hardened Hollywood producers — recently chronicled by the New York Times Magazine — Fox Searchlight released the film in a single theater in New York and one in Los Angeles in 2011, making it a total box office flop. Film critic Jaime Christley started an online petition so more critics and interested viewers could get a chance to see it. The Gene Siskel Film Center presented the film twice: first in February and later, because of popular demand, brought it back for another week long run in late April.
“Margaret” stars Anna Paquin as Lisa Cohen, a seductive seventeen year old coming of age in a post-9/11 New York City whose life changes when she witnesses a tragic car accident. ArtInfo critic Graham Fuller writes that Margaret “now seems like a full-blown allegory and the most resonant film made about the fallout of al-Qaeda’s attacks on America.” The DVD, out now, will surely open up the film to a much wider audience. It includes the theatrical cut (150 minutes) and Lonergan’s 188-minute cut.