Fox Searchlight Pictures | Release Date: September 30, 2011
7.9
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 36 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
26
Mixed:
8
Negative:
2
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10
halfcenturyFeb 25, 2012
Although the film is long, it is not too long. I would be ready to see it again a week after my first viewing. The characters and situations are true to life, that is, painful and messy. The ellipsis at the end of many scenes, in which theAlthough the film is long, it is not too long. I would be ready to see it again a week after my first viewing. The characters and situations are true to life, that is, painful and messy. The ellipsis at the end of many scenes, in which the scene seems to be cut short, was puzzling at first but contributed to the emotional power of the movie. The actors who played Margaret, her mother, and the dead woman's friend were terrific. I could really relate to everything in this film even though I have never been in any similar situation. Expand
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8
lasttimeisawJul 28, 2012
This lengthily delayed film (for more than 6 years, what
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7
seancriswellAug 23, 2012
Another well written movie with great multilayered characters by Lonergan. A great premise that sends the protagonist into a whirlwind of emotion that doesn't stop though the film's two and a half hours. I feel this film falls short in theAnother well written movie with great multilayered characters by Lonergan. A great premise that sends the protagonist into a whirlwind of emotion that doesn't stop though the film's two and a half hours. I feel this film falls short in the same way that You Can Count On Me did. For me Lonergan never seems to be able to find a way to end his protagonists journey. Both movies ended on a less than satisfying note. I do not always need the neat and tidy Hollywood ending, however an obvious end to the story or an obvious open ended ending to take a movie from good to great. Expand
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9
lancekozSep 20, 2012
A film of true gravitas. The acting is amazing and the script often spot-on. Not only is the main drama fascinating, but there is also coverage of issues like single motherhood and self-acceptance. Best film I saw in a long time. I may haveA film of true gravitas. The acting is amazing and the script often spot-on. Not only is the main drama fascinating, but there is also coverage of issues like single motherhood and self-acceptance. Best film I saw in a long time. I may have given it a ten if it was a bit shorter, as there are some sidetrips that hurt the focus and do not yield the insight of the segments dealing with the main drama. Expand
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9
wiggipopDec 3, 2012
I wish more movies were like this. Having seen Margaret in it's intended 3hr Director's Cut it's difficult thing to comment here on this, the shorter cut of the film. I immediately fell in love with Margaret from the get-go. It's really aI wish more movies were like this. Having seen Margaret in it's intended 3hr Director's Cut it's difficult thing to comment here on this, the shorter cut of the film. I immediately fell in love with Margaret from the get-go. It's really a simple story: a girl witnesses/causes a fatal accident and the rest of the film is about how she deals with it. So many times watching film and television I've longed for more reality; what really happens to a person after they go through a traumatic event? Anna Paquin portrays the confusion and fracture with a raw power; she's a time-bomb. All the performances are excellent, with J. Smith-Cameron and Jeannie Berlin filling the other main roles, with wonderful actors popping up everywhere in support (Matt Damon, Olivia Thrilby, Jean Reno, Keiran Culkin, Mark Ruffalo, Rosemarie DeWitt and Allison Janney in a small but incredible performance). It's about a search for meaning, for redemption and as much about the differences and failings and needs and desires that define every one of us. And it is glorious. Collapse
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7
horizonbtsMar 7, 2015
Well rounded cast and drama, thought it was a little long and drawn out, but well acted and scripted. Basically the main character is affected by an accident with a bus that she saw, and actually had a part in causing. The movie looselyWell rounded cast and drama, thought it was a little long and drawn out, but well acted and scripted. Basically the main character is affected by an accident with a bus that she saw, and actually had a part in causing. The movie loosely looks at someone caught in the right and wrong of things and also how tragic events can lead into something more serious and conflicting. Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick, and Mark Ruffalo in my opinion weren't utilized as well as they should have been given their talent. Still Anna Paquin carries the main role decently and I find myself getting irritated with the mess she creates for herself. Overall a middle of the road movie which if you can sit through has a decent ride. Expand
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8
SpangleJan 7, 2017
At three hours, the extended cut of this film is a really behemoth. I am watching director Kenneth Lonergan's filmography is reverse order, having already seen Manchester by the Sea before watching Margaret. That said, this film further showsAt three hours, the extended cut of this film is a really behemoth. I am watching director Kenneth Lonergan's filmography is reverse order, having already seen Manchester by the Sea before watching Margaret. That said, this film further shows that there is a rule when watching a Longeran. If things can get worse, they absolutely will. In this film, a woman is killed by a bus and young Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) is a witness and a cause of the accident, as she purposely distracted the bus driver. The rest of the film depicts her trying to right this wrong and come to terms with the negative impact she had in this case. Largely a character study, Margaret is a film with a dire and pessimistic depiction of the world and of human beings. Yet, as is the case with his follow-up to this film, Margaret is oddly emotionally cathartic. Though it really goes the full 12 rounds with your heart and emotions, the film is an operatic and beautiful portrayal of life, death, teenagers, and human relationships.

The star of this film is Lisa Cohen. A teenage high school student, Lisa is a complicated character. Young, naive, angsty, antagonistic, strident, dramatic, and in a rush to grow up even if she knows nothing, Lisa is not somebody many people should like. However, why this film soars as a character study is Lonergan's refusal to judge her. At the end of the day, all of this anger, mistreatment of her mother, and distance, comes from her regret and pain over causing the death of a woman. She finds ways to deal with the pain and try to forget about it, though it is causing her great strain in her life and her relationships. She needs to release it all and let herself off the hook. By the end of the film, no matter how bratty and irresponsible and disrespectful she acts, you cannot help but feel great sympathy for her and what she has been through. It is tough growing up, let alone seeing such a gruesome death at a young age. Even more challenging, she is idealistic and believes the world must operate in a certain fashion. Though adults grow out of this, as said in the film, teenagers still have this clear view of the world. When things do not align in this fashion and people do not trip over themselves to agree with her, she is confused, affronted, and distraught. Though her traits make her sound horrible, Margaret truly portrays a tragic picture of Lisa and the shattering of her innocent and naive world. Ignorance is truly bliss and for her, she will no longer be ignorant.

An incredibly powerful film, it is clear that Lonergan loves the opera as much as Damien Chazelle loves jazz. With characters going to the opera multiple times in the film, the clearest definition of Lonergan's love of opera is the end. Cathartic, the opera leaves young Lisa in tears next to her mother, Joan (J. Smith-Cameron). The close shows Lisa embrace Joan in tears. While showing the power of the opera, it also shows tremendous growth for Lisa. Fighting with her mother throughout the film, she is now willing to accept her with open arms. She has grown up and is moving past her angsty and existential teenager phase.

At times, however, the film also parallels Lisa's interpretation of the opera. Perceiving it to be merely a medium in which the singers try to yell as loud as possible, Lisa's life is very much the same. Fighting with her mom, fighting with strangers, fighting with classmates, and more, she is antagonistic and looking for somebody to unleash upon at all turns. It is as if she is in her own opera and trying to outscream those around her, out of a belief that she knows best in spite of her lack of life experience. This behavior reveals a lot about her character throughout as her response to conflict is to become defensive and argumentative. She shuts out others and just assumes she is correct without altering her view. Yet, it makes sense because her mother is the same way. She overreacts and takes disagreement as a personal attack. She overreacts and pushes people away just because of a disagreement.

Powerful, depressing, and very long, Margaret's extended cut suffers from some filler. Moments come and go without adding much to the plot. That said, as the film is attempting to replicate real life, these moments are pretty easy to make sense of in the world of the film. Though everything may not advance the plot, the plot is merely an excuse to study Lisa and what makes her tick. This examination works as a large examination of teenagers and their place in the world. For Lonergan, the world is dark and depressing. Teenagers may wish they were older and try to put themselves in adult situations (losing their virginity and having sex), but the realities of adulthood (abortion, death, pain, loneliness, and injustice) will show them that being an adult is not easy. By the end, Lisa has realized this and shows her mother long overdue affection. Sadly, it comes as a result of her losing her innocence and optimism.
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