Sweet Romance: Our Review of ‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - January 29, 2018
Sweet Romance: Our Review of ‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’

The is both passion and caprice at the heart of the real-life love story featured in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, a romance that is carried solely by the connection between and conviction of its two stars.

Annette Bening is Gloria Grahame, who while in her fifties, had a torrid love affair with Peter Turner (Jamie Bell), some three decades her junior. The film moves back and forth a present where Grahame is in her waning years and in need of help from her former beau, and recollections of the passionate past.

Theirs is a sincere, idealistic romance, one not portrayed as trapped by the cliches of holiday. That is, there age difference is no difference to them, and this isn’t some forced romance that is making up for an insecurity or deficiency somewhere else. Tender is their bond and true is their love, which immediately sets this story apart from the rest.

However, the playfulness and affection only run so far, in while both Bell and Bening are superb, you can’t help but feel you want more from your time spent with them. For those familiar with the works of Grahame, her portrayal by Bening may seem a little more coquettish and light-hearted. Those unfamiliar with the story may wonder at what makes it so remarkable.

It’s that latter issue that’s most problematic. We want to spend time with these two, but it’s clear there is more under the surface, something more intriguing, even strange, about their connection. And it’s not explored to its fullest potential.

Gossip and scandal are pushed to the side for the most part, but there is dissection of celebrity fame and fortune, at least how it existed and behaved last century. Grahame’s star is fading, and the twilight of her life is much dimmer, less glamorous than it should be or can be imagined.

Still, Film Stars has enough sweetness and sentimentality to appeal to even the most hardened of hearts, presenting a relationship that at its best is most ideal. As the story takes dramatic turns, we’re all heavily invested. We just may want to get to know them better.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.