It’s Valentine’s Day and I am continuing my streak of desperately trying to find some romantic mood in my movie-viewing. I saved ‘Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool’ because, based on the trailer anyway, I thought it would be closest to a love story. It’s not, if I want to be real strict about it. But it’s a fairly good movie experience, thanks to great acting by Annette Bening and especially Jamie Bell.
I think I have mentioned before that I have been underwhelmed by the Best Actress front runners this year so I am quite dismayed that Annette Bening has not been in the conversation for her performance here. While she has been better, she gives a pretty solid performance here as Gloria Grahame, the aging silent-film actress who goes to London to do some stage work there. She is effective, and seems to have gotten the actress’ spirit here. I totally loved the earlier scenes when she first meets Peter, played by Jamie Bell. They have great chemistry together, and gave the film light and shine. And speaking of Bell, he is a bonafide leading man here- attractive and charming, and he gives his character huge depth. I know some critics have mentioned his performance here as very noteworthy and I do agree.
The film, directed by Paul McGuigan, is just a bit too somber, though. I wish they showed more about Grahame, the actress, because, well, I don’t really know much about her and/or her career, aside from the fact that she won an Oscar in 1952 for ‘The Bad and The Beautiful.’
As for a Valentine’s Day movie choice, it’s good enough. The movie has a beating heart, and love is celebrated here in some kind of form. I could do worse.