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BY Andrew Hedley Flicks Writer
Lajos Koltai is a celebrated cinematographer, but this is his debut as a director. This means that the film looks amazing – especially the sunset scenes at the cliff-top house – but the whole affair feels tame due to lack of strong direction. The characters are emotional in the figurative sense - in that they stand around pontificating about how they love someone else - but they never feel truly alive. Their version of love seems to be more of a contract, more of a social status, than an actual emotion.
In fact the film’s earnestness is often smirk-inducing. Vanessa Redgrave looks ridiculous chasing an imaginary butterfly. It’s embarrassing to watch a great actress be directed in this way. You wonder if she knows it, or whether she’s been conned into thinking that it’s all for the sake of great art.
Are the filmmakers really so convinced of their emotional superiority? Do they really think that audiences want to be subjected to such nonsense? Evening comes across as an extended student film, complete with a total lack of self-awareness. The dialogue is just one clunker after another. As young Ann says to a keen suitor, ‘You’re not in love with me. You’re in love with the idea of me.’ Makes you feel sorry for the poor chap - he’ll have a tough night figuring that one out.
And Glenn Close! Well, if there was a prize for the worst ‘grief’ moment on screen this year, it would be awarded to this woman. When she learns of an untimely death, she howls, collapses, writhes around a bit (half on the chair, half off it) and completely loses the plot. Poor lady.
If there are some redeeming features to the film, they are to do with the concept of a dying woman revisiting her youth. Despite the happiness of the glowing memories, there’s a great sadness that they have faded into an unreachable past. It’s enough to make any 20-something like myself panic: ‘Oh God. This is all going to be a distant memory one day.” Thank you, Evening, for reminding me about that fact. Life is too precious to watch average movies.