I wonder what would happen to reality as we know it if Ronan just accepted a normal role. A contemporary, normal, throwaway role. I wouldn’t be surprised if she refuses roles like that because she wants, you know, good roles, but I’m just wondering if someone’s tried to contractually obligate her into a role like that yet. Well, whatever the case, her track record of different, but awesome roles continues.
Sorry, for clarification, I’ve not seen this movie. I’m just making an early assumption.
The story looks… um, I’m not entirely sure, actually. It looks like a wealthy old-timey British family is paid a visit by a famous American artist and the teen daughter gets a little attached to him. But she’s got a boyfriend, who is crazy about her and gets jealous of the shared attention. Then there’s a woman who seems randomly depressed about romance, and I have no idea what her deal is, so whatever.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Saoirse Ronan (LADY BIRD , BROOKLYN , and upcoming films ON CHESIL BEACH  and MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS ), Annette Bening (FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL , 20TH CENTURY WOMEN , and upcoming films LIFE ITSELF  and GEORGETOWN ), Corey Stoll (GOLD , CAFÉ SOCIETY , BLACK MASS , MIDNIGHT IN PARIS , and upcoming films FIRST MAN  and DRIVEN ), and Elisabeth Moss (THE SQUARE , and upcoming films OLD MAN AND THE GUN  and THE KITCHEN ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Michael Mayer, known for FLICKA (2006). Penning the screenplay is Steven Karam, known for not much, but haven’t heard of any of it. Co-composing the score are Nico Muhly (ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL ) and Anton Sanko (OUIJA , and the upcoming AMANDA ). The cinematographer is Matthew J. Lloyd, known for POWER RANGERS (2017) and Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 (2019). Finally, the editor is Annette Davey, known for stuff I’ve never heard of.
Overall, I have no idea what to make of this. Some jokes from the trailer seem charming enough, so that’s how I’m thinking I’m going to feel about this movie: charmed, but not humored. Am I using that word correctly? I don’t care, just don’t be awful. That’s the only thing I can say. But if it has Ronan in it, I highly doubt it. Girl knows how to pick good films.
This is my honest opinion of: THE SEAGULL
Set in 1904. Irina (Annette Bening) is a wealthy veteran actress who is popular with both critics and fans. She is in a committed relationship with the younger, but equally successful playwright, Boris (Corey Stoll). Irina has a twenty-something year old son named Konstantin (Billy Howle) who is an aspiring playwright and thinks himself edgy and his plays are a new way of thinking and seeing life as it is. He yearns for his mother’s approval, and is jealous of Boris’ success. Konstantin has a girlfriend named Nina (Saoirse Ronan), a poor girl who is accepted into the family and aspires to be an actress, often acting in Konstantin’s plays, but she harbors a deep infatuation with Boris. The webs of romance become increasingly entangled and threaten the stability of the family.
Waaaaa! It started off so compelling and then it just… kind of dropped the ball. Bleh. Okay, so this movie isn’t bad, but… damn it…
I’m just going to come right out and say it, my dislike for the movie comes from what I thought the movie was going to be about rather than what it is. The movie, for the first twenty some-odd minutes looks like it’s a character study in the varying degrees of pretentious people. Really think about it. Irena is a pretentious aging actress who refuses to believe that she’s older than she is and is so high on her own acting abilities that she could even play a teenage girl. You have her boyfriend/husband, Boris, who is a pretentious writer who thinks his life is so tortured because once he completes one play, he has a need to write another, literally proclaiming it to be “ridiculous.” You have Konstantin, who is a younger pretentious writer who thinks he’s edge and bringing forth a new way of thinking to the world, even though his only play is performed by his one girlfriend and needs his mother’s approval of his work, because his man-card has been shredded to a fine powder, constantly jealous of Boris’ success and the affection he gets from his girlfriend, and plays piano intensely when he’s upset. Speaking of which, you also have Nina, a pretentious aspiring actress who literally says that she wants commoners to rush to her chariot and pull her around town. On the surface, this could sound annoying, but really think about how this could be done right. Imagine if this movie was just all these egos bouncing off of each other, analyzing, critiquing, criticizing, judging one another, and getting nowhere. Pure and utter madness of people who are so high on themselves, but the audience knows that they’re all just idiots and entitled douche bags who don’t deserve what they want. That’s the first chunk of this movie and it’s entertaining and hilarious as all hell.
I also thought that the movie would be a commentary on modern filmmaking. Like, Konstantin is a fresh talent and trying to get his new ideas to be noticed, but older, more traditional talent thinks that it’s nothing more flights of fancy and not to be taken very seriously. I even remember someone watching his play in the beginning and commenting on the “special effects.” But then again, Konstantin has dumb, old-timey, lovey-dovey lines like, “My love,” further feeding into my suspicions that this movie was playing with the concept of pretentiousness. All of this molded together was getting me really excited about thinking about what this movie was going to say.
But then it does the unthinkable by giving this movie… heart. Or rather, it tries to. There’s scenes where the son runs off in a huff and his mom chases after him to give him words of encouragement, or whatever. You have Moss, who is seriously acting her heart out playing Masha. For a character who has arguably the funniest lines in the entire movie, Masha is wholly unnecessary to the movie. Write her out, the movie doesn’t miss a beat. What makes it even more odd is that she has arguably the most dramatic turns in the story. She’s established to be madly in love with Konstantin, but we don’t know why. Nothing about his personality seems to be all that compelling. We never see her reading his work and telling him how much she likes them and why, she’s just… staring at him longingly, mourning her life in general, if Moss wasn’t such a charismatic actress, I’d say anyone else would have made this character annoying. By the end of the second act, I had nearly lost interest in the movie altogether. Were it not for the sprinkles of well-written comedy, I might have completely zoned out.
Masha, you’re married now?
And you’re happy?
That banter still gets me. But like I said, Masha in general was hilarious.
Also, it’s only until the final act of the film where I can easily tell that this was an adaptation. I say this because the first ten minutes of this whole “two years later” bit is all exposition about what happened to everyone. This is the only really clunky bit of writing, and ultimately didn’t seem necessary as other characters seem to talk about these things anyway in separate scenes.
But I’d be lying if all of this made it a bad film. I just simply didn’t agree with where the story ended up going and how… melodramatic it became compared to the supposed satire it started off as. As is, the acting is fine, the jokes are legitimately funny, and some of the drama works. As a recommendation, if you like your fancy comedies, then you might get a kick out of it. Just keep your expectations modest and you’ll likely be in a good place of enjoyability. This seagull flew to great heights at first, but eventually leveled out to something less impressive.
My honest rating for THE SEAGULL: 3/5