Ann (Redgrave) is now an old lady, hooked up to an oxygen machine in a dark room she’ll never leave. When she closes her eyes, she remembers a happy time when she was in love a man whom she’s never since forgotten. While the narrative fades between the older and younger Ann (Danes), her two daughters sit at her side. One in particular (Collette) is very interested in her mother’s secret past, hoping that it might provide clues to understanding the meaning of true love and the bonds that bind us together.

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Flicks Review

Evening is a ponderous extended metaphor for the twilight hours before death. It might look very good, and feature a top cast, but it feels empty and often silly. Any atmosphere or emotion is hampered by nonsensical dialogue and stilted acting.

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.

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 2 ratings, 2 reviews
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A "lovely" story about the recollections of an old women on her deathbed. It entwines her daughters, provokes them to question her comments and worries one, and only when an old friend visits do they get it.
There is a message though......."try to be happy"

I didn't think I went into this film with unrealistic expectations, the actors alone led me to believe it would be worth my $15. Oh how was I mistaken.

Boring. Clichéd. Long.

The Press Reviews

27% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • BBC

    A raft of award-winners head up the cast and crew of Evening, but this slick-loooking melodrama heaves under the weight of all those gongs. Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, and Vanessa Redgrave (to name a few) act out Michael Cunningham's (The Hours) co-written script for acclaimed cinematographer-turned-director Lajos Koltai. But before hooking the big names, the producers should have beefed up the story... Full Review

  • 1/2 There are few things more depressing than a weeper that doesn't make you weep. "Evening" creeps through its dolorous paces as prudently as an undertaker... Full Review

  • This multi-generational chick flick may be blessed with a stellar cast but unfortunately errs on the pretentious side... Full Review

  • Perfect flick for mums and daughters to bond over, just be prepared for it to take a couple of hours... Full Review

  • An all-star team of filmmakers takes on a minor-league story. The cast and crew here include multiple Oscar winners and nominees, a Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter, and a director, a much-honored cinematographer who collaborated with a Nobel Prize-winning author no less for his first film. Alas, the thing they all choose to labor over is a thin, overwrought tale of New England bluebloods wallowing in self-perpetuated angst and recriminations. At the end of the movie, everyone decides to get over it. Wow, that's a relief... Full Review

  • Despite the obviously compelling premise and the stellar cast, this film just failed to deliver on an emotional level... Full Review