Cert: 15 Runtime: 105 mins Director: Paul McGuigan Cast: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Vanessa Redgrave, Stephen Graham and Julie Walters
One of the headline gala’s at LFF this year is Film Star’s Don’t Die in Liverpool. One of my main reasons for watching this was for Annette Bening and Vanessa Redgrave in one film! Paul McGuigan has directed one of my all time favourite films Lucky Number Slevin, so with that in mind it was worth a go. So what is Film Star’s Don’t Die in Liverpool about? In 1981, decades after she rose to fame in Hollywood, the Academy Award®-winning star of The Big Heat, In a Lonely Place and The Bad and the Beautiful, Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) is treading the boards in a modest theatre production when she collapses in a Lancaster hotel. Her health failing, she reaches out to former lover, Liverpudlian actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell). When Peter takes her back to his family home, to the care of his sympathetic mother (Julie Walters), memories of their grand affair soon come flooding back.
Paul McGuigan has created a very nice film. Before the screening I didn’t anticipate myself saying that. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool was a very funny film and had a tender heart. The biggest laugh for me was Stephen Graham’s scouse wig. The comedic soul of the film is the driving force for me, it actually makes the film feel shorter. Prior to LFF I had no clue about Gloria Grahame’s relationship with Peter Turner. It was an informative piece but it lacked depth in some segments. Once the third act hits and the flashback of the same scenario twice happened McGuigan lost me. It wasn’t necessary for the film, especially what I saw prior worked so well. The use of objects to fade back into the past was a nice touch from him. The use of natural light was alluring too. Annette Benning gives a very good performance. Playing an actress would be easy for any actress, she excels playing the Hollywood giant. Jamie Bell had a questionable scouse accent. His passion for Gloria felt very genuine, he made a great love interest. Julie Walters does steal the show, any appearance by her in film is just warming. She provides so much comic relief through out. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a good film to watch on a Sunday afternoon, but it wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea.