Tony Award-winning theater director Michael Mayer’s (“Spring Awakening”) film adaptation of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov’s classic 1896 play focuses on the summer residents of an idyllic, lakeside estate, located about 50 miles from Moscow. Continue reading…
Annette Bening dazzles as Irina Arkadina, the aging actress, a narcissistic diva who arrives at the country ‘dasha’ of her elderly, ailing brother Sorin (Brian Dennehy), toting along the celebrated short-story writer Boris Trigorin (Corey Stoll), who loves to go fishing.
Meanwhile, the hapless schoolteacher Medvedenko (Michael Zegren) pursues the estate manager’s daughter Masha (Elisabeth Moss), an aspiring actress who is in love with the penniless, young playwright Konstantin Treplev (Billy Howle), who desires manipulative Nina Zarechnaya (Saoirse Ronan), a teenage neighbor who fancies Tregorin, who is ostensibly sleeping with Treplev’s elitist mother. Got that?
Plus, there’s Masha’s mother, Paulina Andreyvna (Mare Winningham), and Dr. Dorn (Jon Tenney), who has known these people for many years and serves as a compassionate observer.
Not surprisingly, a melancholy mood reigns supreme, while much vodka is consumed. Plus, there’s a failed suicide attempt and a seagull crashes to earth.
The script by Tony Award-winning playwright Stephen Karam (“The Humans”) re-arranges some pivotal Chekhov dialogue, diluting and distracting from some of the narrative’s comedic impact, while upping the pace and increasing the tension, which is complemented by the musical score by Nico Muhly and Anton Sanko.
Utilizing natural light, Matthew J. Lloyd’s cinematography is stunning, highlighting Jane Musky’s detailed production design and Ann Roth’s authentic period costumes.
FYI: Esteemed director Sidney Lumet didn’t fare as well with his 1968 screen version, starring Simone Signoret, James Mason and Vanessa Redgrave.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Seagull” is a sultry, sensual 6 – memorable mainly for the superb performances.