This film makes no pretension of being a block-buster. This movie however speaks volumes.
The story expertly weaves four individual stories about three desperate people:
In the first, Dakota Fanning plays the impetuous if somewhat naive Beverly Aadland, chorus line performer and aspiring actress, Errol Flynn’s last serious love interest.
In the second story, Susan Sarandon plays her mother, Florence Aadland, the mother, who grooms her daughter to live out the dreams of her own derailed acting career.
Last, but not least, there is Kevin Kline, who plays a very world-weary, once great but now-a has-been Hollywood actor, Errol Flynn.
The fourth story is the heart of this movie. In this story, each of these persons use the other to meet their respective needs and get what they want.
Rather than present these stories in separate vignettes, the story unfolds as a series of flashbacks, one intertwined with the other, as told by the mother to her ghost writer writing a book her daughter does not want told. The result is a very satisfying movie.
The performances are fantastic!
If Dakota Fanning’s performance is lackluster, it is for a reason. In life, Beverly Aadland was a mediocre, at best, performer, with average skills. Dakota Fanning very convincingly displays that mediocrity.
Susan Sarandon is great as a boozy, doting, mother out to make her daughter the success in Hollywood she never was.
Kevin Kline? What can you say about his performance — he is spot on as Errol Flynn. He looks like Errol Flynn, he acts and speaks like Errol Flynn. His demeanor reeks of the burned out actor, someone who squandered what little real talent he possessed on alcohol, women, drugs, escapades, and anything else that crossed his path. It is a five-star performance.
This is ultimately a very sad movie for all these reasons, but one which should not be missed.