Some may not be aware of what Margaret is, but if true, this announcement is a big deal. Playwright Kenneth Longergan‘s follow-up to his filmmaking debut, You Can Count on Me, Margaret was filmed in the fall of 2005, and still has not seen a release. The reasons for it are something that I briefly chronicled here, but that really only scratches the surface of what a mess this film has had to go through. Starring Matt Damon, Anna Paquin, Mark Ruffalo, Olivia Thirlby, Allison Janney, Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, and Kieran Culkin, the movie tells of a young girl’s guilt over a death that occurred in a bus accident, which apparently evolves into a study of New York City in the wake of 9/11. Many who have seen it hailed it as a masterpiece, and the script is said to be one of the best from the past several years.
Producer Gary Gilbert stated in May that the movie would be opening in theaters by the end of this year; this is something that I wanted to believe, but couldn’t quite get myself excited about. When it’s supposed to have opened in 2oo6 — and there’s no sign that this is actually coming out — I feel a strong sense of doubt.
Today brought, for the first time ever, an actual date for which we can expect to see it: September 30th. As the Exhibitor Relations Facebook page says, it “finally sees the light of day” then, and I hope they’re right. But, a big problem when it comes to the version we’re getting: The original cut is said to be around three hours long, but is so with every minute being justified. A huge part of the delay, as I hope you read in the above link, is that Fox Searchlight doesn’t want to release a movie that long — and this has led to both Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker getting involved, trying to help out Lonergan in delivering a cut which the studio would deem acceptable for release.
How well that partnership worked out for him is something we don’t know. Scorsese is someone who I trust to do anything, but it seems entirely possible that he came in and had to excise material that shouldn’t be left out at all. Trying to be optimistic in this situation isn’t nearly as easy as I would like, but maybe his original vision survived. It looks like we’ll find out soon.
Are you excited for Margaret, or do you fear that the movie has been cut down too severely?