The Seagull Movie Review: When it comes to film, only a few things are worse than completely wasting an incredible cast. The Seagull features a cast that includes the likes of Saoirse Ronan, Annette Benning, Elisabeth Moss and Corey Stoll. It is an adaptation of what appears to be a fantastic play. Despite its incredible pedigree, however, The Seagull never really takes off. The film stars Annette Bening as aging theater star, Irina, who visits her brother, Pjotr (Brian Dennehy) and her son Konstantin (Billy Howle) at their country estate. Irina brings along her current lover, Boris (Corey Stoll), a successful novelist younger than herself. Their arrival to the estate brings chaos into the family as a series of complicated love triangles sends the group into a frenzy.
Michael Mayer, who is better known for his directorial work in theater, is at the helm of The Seagull. You can definitely see how influential his work in theater was in this film. Unfortunately, it felt as if Mayer couldn’t decide if he wanted this to be a movie or a play, so he decided to do both. The result was a jarring and incoherent experience. The film often uses awkward and frantic camera movements that completely take you out of the film. Dialogue is also a huge problem here. The characters speak as if they were in a play, using long monologues to express themselves. The problem with that is that the way they speak feels unnatural and over-the-top. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult to connect to these characters because they just don’t feel real at all.
What really makes The Seagull a hard movie to enjoy, though, is the fact that all of the characters are awful people. Irina is a self-obsessed, vain and manipulative woman that is constantly making those around her feel worthless. Konstantin is so busy moping around that he constantly hurts those around him, without caring at all how his actions affect everybody else. Elisabeth Moss, who has become an empowering female icon through the television show The Handmaid’s Tale, is relegated to this role where all she does is cry and get drunk because Konstantin won’t pay attention to her. There isn’t a single character who does anything with good intentions. They all just seem to enjoy hurting one another, and it makes this a pretty depressing experience to sit through.
If there is any saving grace for this film, it is the performances of Annette Bening, Corey Stoll and Saoirse Ronan. As despicable as her character is, Bening’s performance is undeniably strong here. Bening offers up a wide array of emotions in a performance that seems inspired by Gloria Swanson’s iconic turn as Norma Desmond. Corey Stoll’s performance is impressive because you are told exactly what his character is going to do to Nina (Saoirse Ronan), and yet he still manages to make you believe that maybe things will turn out differently. Finally, Saoirse Ronan portrays the only character who feels somewhat real. She brings a sense of innocence and naivety as an aspiring actress looking to become the next best thing. There is a scene near the end of the film that she delivers with utmost excellency and deserves to be applauded. Sadly, it was too little, too late and not enough to save an otherwise forgettable film.
Despite a few strong performances, this really isn’t a film worth watching. It is incoherent, pointless and poorly directed. There are no moments of levity in this film, so you are bombarded with sadness and cruelty for its entire runtime. It’s a shame to see a film with this much talent involved completely fail to live up to its potential. It’s not surprising that this film had no promotional push whatsoever. If you come across it, you’re better off avoiding it.
|The Seagull Movie Review|
|STUDIO:||Sony Pictures Classics|
|RELEASE DATE:||May 25 2018|