Starring : Annette Benning, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Kenneth Cranham & Vanessa Redgrave.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a comedy-drama, based on the true story of the romance between the ageing Hollywood movie star Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) and fledgling actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell), 29 years her junior .
Bening gives a towering performance as Gloria Grahame and Bell is teamed once more with Julie Walters, who plays his mother, 27 years after they were previously on screen together in Billy Elliot.
There is a great on-screen spark between Bening & Bell; as they fall in love with each other, the audience begins to fall in love with both of them, willing their relationship to succeed.
The writing is sympethetic, honest, funny and touching. Screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh (author of Control, Nowhere Boy and The Look of Love) finds the perfect pitch for the film. He skilfully adapts Turner’s autobiography and was awarded with a BAFTA nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The film is set during the later years in the life of the American actress Gloria Grahame (who died in 1981). It recounts her unlikely last-gasp love affair with Peter Turner, a struggling English actor. When they met, in a London boardinghouse in 1978, he was 26 and she was almost three decades older, striving to supplement a waning film career with stage roles.
Once a major star, (having won an Oscar in 1952 for “The Bad and the Beautiful”), Grahame excelled at playing knowingly sultry floozies. She played Ado Annie in the movie version of Oklahoma and Violet Bick, Bedford Falls femme fatale, in the classic movie It’s A Wonderful Life.
As an unknown, young actor in the late 1970s, Turner met and fell in love with Grahame who, incredibly, was living in the same North London boarding house. She was looking to maintain her fading career through working on the English stage.
Their relationship faltered but Turner receives a ‘phone call: Grahame had collapsed in her dressing room while on tour in the UK, and had asked to come and stay with Peter and his family (Turner’s parents brilliantly played by Julie Walters and Kenneth Cranham) in Liverpool, convinced that she could recover there. And so, the two are brought together one final time.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a bewitching story of Spring and Autumn, star-crossed lovers, told with tremendous warmth and tenderness.
A film not to be missed.
Tickets in advance :
Standard : £7.50
Unwaged : £5.50
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