I know this is going to be hard for most of you to believe, especially after my confession in the 27 Dresses film review, but I kind of hated Evening. I know! It seems ludicrous that I would even think to utter such a statement. It’s practically the very embodiment of a “chick flick,” but it just wasn’t convincing enough for me.
Toni Collette and Natasha Richardson play sisters who come home to say good bye to their terminally ill mother, played by Vanessa Redgrave, who is actually Richardson’s mother. Redgrave’s character, Ann, begins talking what Connie (Richardson’s character) thinks is feverish nonsense about “Harris.”
The younger sister, Nina, played by Toni Collette, is intrigued to think that her mother had an alternate life that she never even hinted at with her daughters.
Through dreams and medication induced hallucinations, we are transported into Ann’s past. Young Ann, played by Claire Danes, is the maid of honor in her well-off best friend’s wedding. She’s also quite good friends with her best friend’s alcoholic little brother, Buddy, played by Hugh Dancy. Harris, played by Patrick Wilson, turns out to be the old housekeeper’s son.
And here’s where we come to the unconvincing part. EVERYONE’S supposed to be simply mesmerized by Harris. Buddy loves him. We soon find out that his sister, even though she’s the bride-to-be, loves him, so of course, Ann gets wrapped up in the intoxication with Harris. Patrick Wilson’s cute and all, but I just didn’t get how EVERYONE could be SO in love with him.
I was also irritated with the helpless mooning of Older Ann. I realize that she’s on her deathbed, and everything about one’s life is placed in stark relief at the end of that life, but to see how free and confident and hopeful Young Ann was, and then to watch her become Vanessa Redgrave’s character was a huge disappointment.
And I know love doesn’t really have a timeline or boundaries or rules, but I just didn’t get how she could still be in love with Harris 40-something years later.
There were some nice moments in the film, but they were too few and far between. I did actually shed a quick tear just before the ending, and for a moment, I thought that perhaps the film would redeem itself, and then it ended with the biggest cop out of an ending I’ve ever seen, which solidified it for me.
I wouldn’t say don’t watch it, but definitely don’t expect too much from it.