• Guy Jeffries

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool


Director: Paul McGuigan.

Starring: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Stephen Graham, Vanessa Redgrave.

I went into this film unknowing it was a biography of Oscar Winning actress, Gloria Grahame, not that I’m pretending to really know who she was, but I certainly do now and this film pushed me to find out more about her. I know right, claiming to be a film buff and shamefully not being familiar with the classic stars. Something I’ll have to remedy.

Anyways, forgetting my shortcomings of being a filmblogger; this film is essentially about a love affair that blossoms by chance, between one of Hollywood’s greats and a much younger, aspiring liverpudian actor. Bening is amazing and though I can’t comment on the likeness to the real life Grahame, her performance is great nonetheless. Bell is good but of course the limelight is firmly on Bening throughout and sadly the accents aren’t great but they’re quickly forgotten.

I’m interested in knowing the inspirations behind the film? Why director McGuigan and cast wanted to get involved. Was it something personal? McGuigan does boast quite a board range of films under his belt, with films like Wicker Park, Gangster No.1 and my personal favourite of his, Lucky Number Slevin.

The film has good structure and technically well put together especially whilst spanning two different periods of their relationship. There’s a danger of confusing the audience and though it does skirt very close to the edge, it manages to skim over with little disruption to the storyline. Even J. Ralph does a powerful and touching score accompanying a small yet good soundtrack.

The great beauty of this film is that it captures the notion of love ignoring boundaries such as age and celebrity status perfectly; and during the last part of the film I could see the stunning actress in Bening’s performance. This film has certainly inspired me to want to watch the real Grahame in her glorious fashion, now knowing a little more about the lady behind the camera.

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 8

Performance: 7

Direction: 8

Story: 8

Script: 8

Creativity: 9

Soundtrack: 8

Job Description: 9

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

82% 8/10

#PaulMcGuigan #AnnetteBening #JamieBell #JulieWalters #StephenGraham #VanessaRedgrave #KennethCranham #BentleyKalu #FrancesBarber #JRalph