‘Margaret’ moves too slowly
Margaret is the story about a spoiled, over privileged, Jewish girl named Lisa. Well, at least this is how Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) describes herself. She is a fairly attractive female living in New York City, where she attends a private school on half scholarship. She’s also a fairly intelligent young lady. We see much of her school participation where she has great conversations regarding politics and Old English; however, her downfall is mathematics. But math isn’t always the easiest of subjects even for the brightest of students and she has an understanding teacher. In NYC this is a pretty average life for a teenager. The thing that makes life different for Lisa was that she accidently helped a bus driver murder somebody.
Lisa is part of a broken home. She lives with her mother and younger brother in New York City while her father and stepmother reside in a little house on the beach in California. Lisa has plans of going to Colorado with her little brother, step mother and father to go horse-back riding. Well, as everybody knows you can’t go horseback riding without the proper attire and Lisa needs a cowboy hat. Alas, as she can’t find a cowboy hat in west side New York as it’s an impossible feet. Lisa finds this out the hard way. But just as she starts to lose hope she sees a bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) wearing a cowboy hat! So she runs after the bus driver to ask him where he found it. He drives off looking at her, she chases after him as he looks between her and the road in front of him. But in a fit of bad luck he looks back at her while the light changes from green to red. Before the bus driver knows it it, he runs a red light and accidentally kills a woman crossing the street in front of the bus.
Lisa watches the woman die and, being in her adolescence, handles the situation poorly. She tries to pass blame, she becomes overly emotional and she starts making rash decisions. She gives her virginity away to a random school chum, she makes out with a boy that liked her while on hard drugs, she flirts with her teacher (Matt Damon) and she treats her mother poorly. In fact, her mother tries to support her during these trying times but can’t give it her all because she’s in the middle of opening a new play and dating a new boyfriend. There’s more teenage drama than you could bear!
Even with all that drama, Margaret seems to run very slowly. The director, Kenneth Lonergan (who is also the writer) over used slow motion that added nothing to the film, cut to establishing shots of New York for way too long and allowed scenes to linger so long that it took away from the drama of the film and made the audience want more. Along that same frame of thought, because the film seemed to go by very slowly, it seemed like the story jumped around too much. It was hard to tell if you should be rooting for Lisa to build a relationship with her mother, her mother’s boyfriend or her father.
The story seemed to put the audience in the mindset of being an adolescent—which isn’t a good thing. It makes you see from the eyes of someone who thought they knew everything, but couldn’t take responsibility for their actions or look for help in the right places. You constantly rooted for Lisa to learn about herself and take responsibility but she constantly shifted blame and tried to make things right by putting full blame on the bus driver. By the time she eventually comes to terms with what she’s done the audience is just glad for the film to be over.