Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ON STORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

Film Crit Hulk Smash: 22 SHORT THOUGHTS ABOUT MARGARET

Hulk discusses MARGARET and talks about why it's such a difficult film to discuss.

Film Crit Hulk Smash: 22 SHORT THOUGHTS ABOUT MARGARET

1.

THE END GOAL OF ART IS (POSSIBLY) ABOUT TWO THINGS.

THE FIRST TO PROVIDE A TANGIBLE SERVICE. ANDREI TARKOVSKY WROTE IN HIS MASTERPIECE SCULPTING IN TIME: "The aim of art is to prepare a person for death, to plough and harrow his soul, ren­dering it capable of turning to good." THAT'S JUST A VERY POETIC WAY OF EXPRESSING A SIMPLE, YET NOBLE GOAL: HELPING PEOPLE. BUT IN ORDER FOR A FILM TO HELP SOMEONE BEYOND THE BASICS OF "ESCAPISM" IT REALLY NEEDS TO COMMUNICATE A VALID, RELEVANT IDEA THAT SPEAKS TO SOMEONE OUT THERE. WHICH MEANS THERE CAN BE A SPECTRUM TO HOW ONE ACTUALLY PULLS OFF THAT COMMUNICATION.

FOR INSTANCE, AT ONE END OF THE SPECTRUM THERE ARE THE MOST DIRECT "AFTER-SCHOOL SPECIAL" MESSAGES THAT WORK FOR YOUNGER KIDS AND RESULT IN SOME ADULTS ROLLING THEIR EYES. AND AT THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM, THERE ARE THE MOST ETHEREAL, ABSTRACT IDEAS THAT GET AT SOME TRUTH IN THE LEAST DIDACTIC WAY POSSIBLE. TARKOVSKY HIMSELF EXPLORED THESE MORE ABSTRACT METHODS TO RATHER POWERFUL ENDS. BUT IDEALLY, THE MAINSTREAM FALLS INTO SOME MIDDLE GROUND BETWEEN THE TWO. THEY LIKE SMART, DIRECT, EMOTIONAL STORYTELLING WHICH HELPS US UNDERSTAND SOMETHING ABOUT OUR LIVES. BUT NO MATTER WHERE WE FALL ON THE SPECTRUM, THE GOAL OF ART IS STILL THE SAME: "HELPING PEOPLE."

WELL THAT GOAL CAN EVOLVE INTO SOMETHING A TAD DIFFERENT, AN EXTENSION IF YOU WILL: THE SECOND GOAL OF TRULY GREAT ART IS TO SOMEHOW EXPRESS THE INEXPRESSIBLE. IN HULK'S ONE QUESTION INTERVIEW PATTON OSWALT TOUCHED ON THE IDEA AND CALLED IT "UNVEILING AN ACTUALITY." WHICH MEANS THE VALUE COMES FROM THIS AMAZING ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE SOMETHING THAT HAS NEVER QUITE BEEN ARTICULATED LIKE THAT BEFORE. AS SUCH, IT GOES BEYOND ALL SENSE OF FUNCTIONALISM. IT IS A MOMENT OF RECOGNITION WITHIN YOUR SOUL.

AND IT IS IN THIS SECOND GOAL, THAT MARGARET TRULY SHINES.

2.

... WRITING ABOUT MARGARET IS ONE OF THE TOUGHEST THINGS HULK HAS EVER HAD TO DO.

FOR ONE, HULK THINK IT MIGHT BE ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES HULK HAS EVER SEEN. HULK HATES TO GET INTO SUPERLATIVES, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE HULK REALLY ISN'T EVEN INTERESTED IN THE CONTEST OF "WORTH" ANYWAY, BUT SOMETIMES IT'S OKAY TO DIP A TOE INTO THESE WATERS IF ONE BELIEVES IT WILL COME TO SOME PRODUCTIVE END (HINT: THE PRODUCTIVE END DOES NOT INCLUDE ARGUING WITH SOMEONE). AND IN THIS FILM'S CASE, ESTABLISHING IT AS A MASTERPIECE IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT HAS FOUGHT, AND IS FIGHTING FOR ITS VERY LIFE.

THE FILM BEGAN PRODUCTION IN 2003 AND EXPERIENCED STARTS AND STOPS ALL THE WAY THOUGH 2006. IT HAS LANGUISHED IN STUDIO HELL, FIGHTING OVER MAJOR ISSUES OF CONTRACTUAL-BOUND LENGTH. IT WAS RELEASED WITH ONLY THE MOST MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS: A WEEK SHOWING IN A COUPLE OF CITIES. AND NOW ITS FUTURE REMAINS IN JEOPARDY. THUS, AT EVERY STEP OF THE FILM'S PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION, THIS FILM WAS EFFECTIVELY TOLD IT WAS "WORTHLESS" ... SO PERHAPS IT IS APPROPRIATE TO STAND UP AND SAY "NOT ONLY DOES THIS FILM HAVE WORTH, BUT IT IS INVALUABLE."

THE PROBLEM IS THAT IT IS REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HARD TO EXPRESS WHAT MAKES IT SO DAMN GOOD. AND HULK BELIEVES THAT EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS-RELATED PROBLEM THE FILM HAS HAD STEMS FROM THAT FACT. IT'S NOT AN ABSTRACT FILM IN ANY WAY. THAT WOULD MAKE WHATEVER GENIUS IT HAS QUITE CLEAR.

WHAT IT IS, IS NUANCED.

IN FACT, TRYING TO WRITE ABOUT MARGARET MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE LISA, THE FILM'S MAIN CHARACTER. YOU ARE SO WELLED UP WITH EMOTION AND YET WHOLLY UNABLE TO EXPRESS IT. BUT IN TRYING TO HAMMER OUT JUST WHAT MAKES THIS MOVIE SO GOOD, HULK INADVERTENTLY STUMBLED ONTO THE FACT THAT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO UNILATERAL WAY TO ASSESS IT. ONE SIMPLY HAS TO COME AT IT FROM MANY, MANY DIFFERENT ANGLES, ALL OF WHICH DIFFERENT, YET ALL OF WHICH PERTINENT. BUT HOPEFULLY THESE ANGLES WILL ADD UP TOGETHER AND GIVE YOU A VAGUE SENSE OF WHAT EXACTLY MAKES THIS FILM SO WONDERFUL.

ALSO, HULK HAS NO IDEA WHO THIS ESSAY IS FOR. FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN IT, THOSE WHO HAVEN'T. HULK WAS JUST SO DAMN COMPELLED TO WRITE ABOUT IT THAT IT DIDN'T MATTER. BUT REALLY THERE'S ONLY ONE SPOILER PART AND HULK MENTIONS IT SO DON'T WORRY.

SO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING, THE 3RD THROUGH 22ND THOUGHTS ABOUT MARGARET.

3.

THERE ARE TWO TRULY UGLY CLICHES IN LIFE.

THE FIRST IS THAT TEENAGERS ARE STUPID. THE SECOND IS THAT WOMEN ARE CRAZY.

THESE CLICHES ARE NOT ONLY UGLY, BUT THEY ALSO HAPPEN TO BE DEEPLY UNTRUE. THEY ARE SUCH A GROSS REDUCTION OF ALIGNED PERCEPTIONS THAT IN NO WAY REFLECT OUR REALITY.

SO WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE THEM? IT BASICALLY AMOUNTS TO A FULL-SCALE CULTURAL MISDIAGNOSIS. AND THE REASON SOCIETY (AT LARGE) IS SO BAD AT UNDERSTANDING THEM IS BECAUSE BOTH TAKE JUST A TINY BIT OF NUANCE TO LOOK PAST AND... WELL... YOU'VE SEEN HOW GOOD SOCIETY IS AT NUANCE. BUT EVEN IF IT IS TECHNICALLY DIFFICULT TO LOOK PAST THESE CLICHES, THEN WHY, WHEN IT JUST SEEMS SO DAMN PERTINENT TO DO SO, DON'T WE EVER REALLY SEEM TO TRY?

AND THAT'S WHERE MARGARET COMES IN. IT SEEKS SO DESPERATELY TO ENGAGE BOTH OF THESE DUMB CLICHES AND NOT ONLY TRANSCEND THEM, BUT PERFECTLY EXPRESS THE INEXPRESSIBLE AND ENGAGE THE DEEP TRUTH ABOUT THE PSYCHOLOGY AT PLAY IN TEENAGE WOMEN.

4.

TEENAGERS ARE COMPLEX.

DESPITE OUR ASSUMPTIONS, LET US PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT. THE MINDS OF YOUTH ARE OFTEN CHIDED AS BEING DUMBSACK WASTES OF SPACE. LOUIS C.K. EVEN WROTE ONE OF THE FUNNIEST THINGS HULK EVER SEEN ON IT. BUT WHAT TEENAGERS REALLY ARE, HOWEVER, IS RAW. IT'S NOT THAT THEY DON'T "KNOW ANYTHING" YET, BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY KNOW GREAT MANY THINGS... PROBABLY MORE THAN WE DO WHEN IT COMES TO RELEVANT FACTS AND ACADEMIA. AFTER ALL, THEY ARE IN SCHOOL AND LEARNING AND STUFF (HULK CAN'T REALLY REMEMBER HOW TRIG WORKS... THOUGH FOR SOME REASON CALCULUS STICKS).  IT'S JUST TEENAGERS HAVE NO EXPERIENCE REALLY PUTTING THESE IMPORTANT FEELINGS ON THESE FACTS INTO PRACTICE... AND THERE'S CERTAINLY AN ART TO THAT.

BUT LET US NOT PRETEND THAT BEING ADULTS PUTS US MILES AHEAD OF TEENAGERS FOR SOME REASON. SURE, WE'VE PROBABLY HAD ENOUGH EXPERIENCES TO KNOW HOW TO KEEP OUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK, AND WHAT KINDS OF INJUSTICES TRULY MATTER IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS. BUT KNOWING THAT JUST MAKES US SETTLED PEOPLE. MORE MEASURED PEOPLE. MORE RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE.

WHICH IS SUPER IMPORTANT, BUT THAT CERTAINLY DOESN'T MAKE US MORE INTERESTING, COMPLEX, OR IMPORTANT.

5.

MEANWHILE, HULK WON'T BURDEN YOU WITH SOME DUMB STATEMENT LIKE "WOMEN AREN'T CRAZY!" BECAUSE FUCKING NO SHIT. BUT THE TRUTH IS, FOR THIS CONVERSATION AT LEAST, HULK IS KIND OF AFRAID TO GET INTO ANY SORT OF GRAND, UNILATERAL STATEMENTS ABOUT GENDER. THAT'S BECAUSE HULK IS VERY MUCH OF THE MODERN SENSIBILITY (GENDER LARGELY AN ILLUSION, YADA YADA YADA) AND IN THE POPULAR CONVERSATION, THE REFERENCE POINTS ARE SO MUCH DIFFERENT. SO TO MANY OF HULK'S GENDER-THEORY PROGRESSIVE READERS, CONSIDER ALL OF THIS AN ENTRY IN THE POPULAR CONVERSATION AND NOTHING MORE.

YOUNG WOMEN ARE NOT CRAZY. WHAT THEY ARE, IS UNDER MANY, MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF PRESSURES. PRESSURES FOR SEX, POPULARITY, IMAGE, MATURITY, INITIALIZATION. THE MADONNA. THE WHORE. THEY ARE ACCOSTED WITH SO MANY MIXED MESSAGES ABOUT WHO THEY ARE AND WHO THEY SHOULD BE THAT TO PRETEND THERE IS ANY SINGULAR STANDARD IS IMMENSELY STUPID.

AND IT IS EQUALLY STUPID TO EXPECT YOUNG WOMEN TO BE ABLE TO SORT THROUGH THAT WITH EASE. IT IS VASTLY COMPLEX PROCESS. TO EXPECT YOUNG WOMEN TO HAVE A 100% HEALTHY EXPERIENCE IN DISCOVERING THEIR SEXUALITY, BEING GOOD, AND TO RECOGNIZE OTHER HUMAN BEINGS ALL THE WHILE IS A RIGGED GAME. SORTING THOUGH THIS STUFF IS MESSY. IT'S HARD. AND THAT SHOULD BE ACKNOWLEDGED IN SOME WAY. SO WHAT WE SHOULD NEVER DO, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, IS THINK OF SOMEONE MERELY DEALING WITH THESE PROBLEMS AS BEING "CRAZY."

BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING MORE VILE THAN A MAN THINKING THAT ABOUT WOMEN IN GENERAL.

AND DON'T TELL HULK THAT IT'S NOT A REAL PERCEPTION. IT FILLS UP THE SENTIMENT OF THE VAST MAJORITY OF FAMILY SITCOMS AND STAND UP COMICS. "WOMEN ARE CRAZY, Y'ALL!" WE HEAR IT ALL THE TIME. WE HEAR IT SO MUCH THAT SOME YOUNG WOMEN ACTUALLY START TO BELIEVE IT TOO. AND HULK SAYS POOP TO THAT. IT'S AS BIG A DOUBLE STANDARD AS HULK HAS EVER SEEN. SO DON'T EVER MISTAKE AN ALTERATION, OR MIND-CHANGE, OR A CONFLICTED FEELING AS SOMEONE BEING "CRAZY." THAT'S A PROPAGATION OF BULLSHIT.

YOU MAY SAY "BUT HULK! I KNOW I'VE SEEN SOME CRAZY MOMENTS THAT JUST DON'T MAKE SENSE FROM MY GIRLFRIEND, I KNOW IT!"

NOPE. NOT CRAZY AT ALL. BECAUSE WHAT WE ARE REALLY TALKING ABOUT IS THE STANDARDS OF LOGICAL TRUTH VS. EMOTIONAL TRUTH. AN EMOTIONAL TRUTH IS SOMETHING THAT, QUITE SIMPLY, FEELS TRUE EVEN IF THE LOGIC DOESN'T.

THERE IS THIS WEIRD BELIEF STILL THAT MEN ONLY ASCRIBE TO LOGICAL TRUTH. WELL, MEN USE THE "EMOTIONAL TRUTH"  ALL THE TIME, THEY JUST DON'T REALIZE IT. FOR INSTANCE? WELL, THERE'S RELIGION WHICH IS THE BIGGEST EMOTIONAL TRUTH OF ALL, BUT HULK DOESN'T WANT TO GO THERE. NEXT UP? SPORTS FANDOM. WHICH HAS TO BE THE MOST ILLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL KIND OF TRUTHS THERE ARE. AND DON'T GET HULK WRONG. HULK LOVES SPORTS. BUT THERE ISN'T A LICK OF LOGIC TO OUR ALLEGIANCES OR SENTIMENT. BUT THERE ARE EMOTIONAL TRUTHS FOR LOTS OF MALE-CENTRIC THINGS. LIKE OUR LOVE OF CHILDHOOD CARTOONS OR COMICS. OR THE DESIRE TO FIGHT WHEN SEEMINGLY "DISHONORED." THESE ARE ALL ILLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL TRUTHS.

THE VERY SAME EMOTIONAL TRUTHS THAT MEN LOOOOOOOOVE TO ACCUSE WOMEN OF HAVING DURING ARGUMENTS, OR THE TIMES WHEN WE'RE OH SO PERFECTLY LEVEL-HEADED. THESE SITUATIONS GET WORSE WHEN WE REDUCE IT AND MAKE THE B.S CULTURAL DIAGNOSIS FROM IT, OH THEY'RE JUST "CRAZY."... BUT IT'S THE SAME WAY TYPICAL MEN ARE "CRAZY" ABOUT SPORTS, BELOVED CHILDHOOD PROPERTIES, OR FIGHTING IN BARS. THEY'RE ALL EMOTIONAL TRUTHS.

AND MAYBE WE'RE WORSE BECAUSE WE DO NOT ADMIT THEIR ROLE IN OUR LIVES.

WHAT THE FUCK DOES ALL OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MARGARET?

A LOT ACTUALLY. IT WOULD BE SO FREAKING EASY FOR A VIEWER TO DISMISS SO MUCH OF WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS FILM AS "CRAZY WOMEN!" OR "DUMB TEENAGERS!" BUT LONERGAN KNOWS HOW TO DELVE INTO THAT SO-CALLED CRAZINESS AND FIND THE VERY HUMAN REASONS FOR ALL THESE BEHAVIORS: THE PRESSURES. THE URGES. THE EVENTS. THE HAPPENSTANCE.

THE UGLY REALITIES OF LIFE THAT FORCE THEIR WAY IN.

6.

SO WHAT IS THE PLOT OF MARGARET? WELL, HULK COULD JUST GO WITH IMDB'S GOOD OLD: "A young woman witnesses a bus accident, and is caught up in the aftermath" AND HULK SUPPOSES THAT FAIR. BUT THAT DOESN'T REALLY SAY ENOUGH. IT DOESN'T CAPTURE WHAT TRULY GOING ON THIS FILM AND HOW IT WORKS. AND IN TRYING TO DO THAT HULK HAS TO SAY THAT HULK HAS NEVER SEEN A MORE BEAUTIFUL SUMMARY DONE THAN BY THE PERSPICACIOUS AND KIND MR. BEAKS OF AICN, WHO MANAGED TO SUCCINCTLY CAPTURE EVERYTHING THAT MAKES THE FILM SO DAMN RESONANT IN HIS 2011 YEAR END LIST. TO WIT:

"Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) didn't ask to be thrust into the center of a tragedy; she was just trying to track down an authentic cowboy hat on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. And she wasn't trying to flirt with that bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) when he blew through a red light and clobbered that poor woman; she just desperately needed to know where he acquired his authentic cowboy hat. Okay, she was flirting a little. And he was flirting back. Granted. The important thing is that she didn't mean to give a false statement to the police; she was just a little upset after that poor, mangled woman died in her arms. She didn't mean for any of this to happen, okay? But she's going to make damn sure that it never happens again.

Kenneth Lonergan's MARGARET is, narratively speaking, a sprawling work about a young girl's reckless pursuit of justice. Lisa knows the bus driver was at fault, resents that he was flirting with her prior to the accident (never mind that she initiated the distraction), and was deeply affected by the dying woman crying out for her own daughter, named Lisa. She also knows from drama (her mother, Joan, is an acclaimed New York City stage actress) and dramaturgy (her father, Karl, is struggling as a screenwriter out in California), which explains how she's effortlessly inserted herself into this small tragedy and blown it up into opera. Lisa's a seventeen-year-old wrecking ball of self-absorption, and she's not going to stop knocking shit over until she feels better about this whole thing."

THE BEST PHRASE TO DESCRIBE THIS KIND OF PLOTTING MIGHT BE "HUMANELY COMPLEX," ESPECIALLY AS LISA'S QUEST SPRAWLS OUT IN EVERY CONCEIVABLE HUMAN DIRECTION. AND YES, THE SHAPE OF THIS FALLOUT IS JUST AS INTERESTING AND NUANCED AS THE ACCIDENT ITSELF. CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

7.

"THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FICTION AND NON-FICTION IS THAT FICTION HAS TO MAKE SENSE.”

OUT OF OUR INCLINATION TO "DRAMATIZE" WE LIKE TO THINK THE WORLD WORKS WITH THIS KIND OF OBVIOUS CAUSE AND EFFECT. "YOU GOT MAD BECAUSE OF X" / "HE DID THIS BECAUSE OF THAT," ETC. THIS SORT OF REASONING MAKES FOR GREAT, EASILY UNDERSTOOD DRAMA, A LIFE-CYCLE OF REVENGE YARNS, LOVE STORIES, AND "A STRANGER COMES TO TOWN." AND THE TRUTH IS THAT HULK A HUGE PROPONENT OF THIS KIND OF DRAMA. THEY MAKE GREAT STORIES THAT HELP US DEFINE THE PARAMETERS AND RULES OF OUR CULTURE.

BUT WHEN YOU'VE SEEN ENOUGH OF THEM, SOMETIMES IT DOESN'T FEEL ALL THAT TRUE, DOES IT? REAL LIFE IS A LITTLE MORE STRANGE AND COMPLEX THAN THAT. WHICH MEANS THAT A GREAT DEAL OF ART CINEMA IS ABOUT CAPTURING THE LIFE THAT ISN'T IN TYPICAL STORIES... SOMETIMES WE ARE EXCEEDINGLY BAD AT IT, MIND YOU. SOMETIMES A WRITER WILL MAKE A STORY CHOICE AND SAY THAT'S "NOT LIKE A TYPICAL SCRIPT!" AND BE ALL SATISFIED WITH MERE ANTI-CONFORMITY TO NO SPECIFIC PURPOSE. AND SOMETIMES THEY FALL TO CHEAP TRICKS OF INSINCERITY. EITHER WAY JUST RESULTS IN APURPOSE, RANDOM STORYTELLING.

WHAT'S FUNNY IS THAT MARGARET IS USUALLY ACCUSED OF THIS TOO... THE PROBLEM IS THAT IT'S NOT TRUE IN THE SLIGHTEST. THERE'S A REASON FOR EVERY SINGLE DAMN THING YOU'RE SEEING ON THE SCREEN. AND IT MAKES SOMEWHAT PERFECT SENSE. IT'S JUST A LITTLE HARD TO WORK OUT BECAUSE IT'S ABOUT THE LEAPS OF LISA'S PSYCHE, NOT THE REGULAR MOVIE RULES OF CAUSE AND EFFECT. AND THESE LEAPS CAN GOES OUT OF ORDER TOO.

OUT OF ORDER? YES, THE STORY IS 100% CHRONOLOGICAL, BUT DO NOT MISTAKE THIS A, B, C, D, E, F, STORYTELLING. INSTEAD IT'S MORE OF A, E, B, F, D, C STORYTELLING. MARGARET LARGELY REACTS TO THINGS IMPROPERLY AND IN THE WRONG ORDER. SHE RESPONDS WITH ANGER WITH SOMEONE SHE CAN. DEMURE ACCEPTANCE WITH SOMEONE SHE SHOULDN'T. IT ALL JUST MEANS THAT SHE BOUNCES AROUND EMOTIONALLY, WITH VERY GOOD PSYCHOLOGICAL REASONS, EVEN IF THOSE REASONS ARE NOT GOOD FOR HER. ULTIMATELY, SHE'S ACTING LIKE A HUMAN BEING. THEY JUST SO HAPPEN TO BE A TEENAGER WHO CAN'T SEEM TO FULLY PROCESS WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THEM.

AND WHAT SHE/THIS FILM CAPTURES IS ALSO SO AMAZINGLY TRUE.

IN ART, THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY FOR ALL KINDS OF TRUTHS. THE STANDARD, WELL-OBSERVED REVENGE YARN IS IN NO WAY LESS "TRUE" THAN A FILM LIKE MARGARET. THERE IS NO BETTER BETWEEN THEM, BUT HULK WILL READILY ADMIT THERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL TO A STORY LIKE THIS. IT'S PSYCHE-BASED STORYTELLING AND IT HONESTLY FEELS LIKE THE HEIGHT OF MIKE NICHOLS WORK AND THE VERY THOUGHT OF THAT MAKES HULK A HAPPY HULK.

BECAUSE IT IS THE KIND OF RARE STORYTELLING NO ONE ACTUALLY BOTHERS WITH ANYMORE.

WHICH MAKES IT ALL THE MORE SAD TO SEE LISA DISMISSED BY SOME AS BEING "A CRAZY WOMAN."

NEVER MIND THE MOVIE HAS SOMEHOW MANAGED TO EXPRESS THE INEXPRESSIBLE.

8.

FORGIVE HULK FOR GOING BACK AGAIN HERE, BUT "THE ACCIDENT" IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL THINGS HULK HAS EVER SEEN ON SCREEN. IT'S NOT POWERFUL IN A TRADITIONAL SENSE THOUGH. WE TEND TO THINK OF POWERFUL SCENES AS BEING THESE GRAND MOMENTS OF CHARACTER CATHARSIS, AMPLIFIED WITH SPIELBERG-IAN AWE, GLASSY EYED ACTORS, AND SWELLING MUSIC COMING TO A CRESCENDO. THAT'S TRADITIONAL POWER-CINEMA.

BUT THAT'S NOT THIS SCENE. IT'S NEVER SKEWS TO FEEL MANIPULATIVE. INSTEAD, IT IS UNEVEN AND QUEASY. IT IS AT ONCE GRUESOME AS IT IS FUNNY. IT HAS NO FEAR OF BEING UGLY. IT EVEN GETS DOWNRIGHT STRANGE, YET NEVER ABSURD. IT ACTUALLY DISPLAYS THE KIND OF SURREALISM WE CAN ONLY FIND IN REAL LIFE (AGAIN, FICTION HAS TO MAKE SENSE). SO WHILE IT DOESN'T GO RIGHT FOR THE OL' WATERWORKS, NOR DOES IT MERELY TRY TO SHOCK YOU WITH ITS GROTESQUENESS; INSTEAD THE SCENE COMES OFF AS THIS POWERFULLY HUMAN EXPERIENCE. IT SHAKES YOUR CORE AS MUCH AS IT ELICITS YOUR COMPASSION. AND BY DOING THAT, BY CAPTURING SOMETHING SO INTIMATE AND REAL, THEY FIND A TRULY SAD PLACE.

POWER-CINEMA MAKES HULK WELL UP WITH EMOTION. THIS MADE HULK'S SOUL FEEL INTRINSIC SORROW...

... PICK  YOUR POISON?

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, INSTEAD OF JUST FINDING THIS DEEPLY RESONANT SCENE FOR ITS OWN SAKE, THERE' S A REAL PURPOSE TO IT. THE SCENE IS THE ABSOLUTE FOCAL POINT OF THE FILM. IT IS THE ONLY THING REALLY LENDING WHAT YOU COULD CALL A PLOT OR BACKBONE, BUT IT IS FELT IN AN EMOTIONAL SENSE ACROSS EVERY SINGLE THING THAT HAPPENS. WHY? BECAUSE TEENAGERS ARE RATHER GOOD AT DISPLACEMENT. THEY CAN EXPERIENCE SOMETHING HIGHLY EMOTIONAL AND THEN FIND AN OUTLET TO POUR IT INTO THAT IS NEITHER PRODUCTIVE NOR APPROPRIATE. AND MAYBE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED, BUT THE OUTLET TENDS TO BE THE EASIEST, MOST CONSCIENCE-FREE ONE FOR THEM TO STIR SHIT UP.

9.

MARTIN SCORSESE SAW AN EARLY CUT OF MARGARET AND SAID IT WAS A MASTERPIECE. HULK NOT TRYING TO INDICATE THAT ANY SINGLE PERSON IS THE BAROMETER OF TASTE, BUT THE FACT THAT ONE OF THE GREATEST LIVING FILMMAKERS SEES SOMETHING TREMENDOUS IN THIS MOVIE IS CERTAINLY A DECENT INDICATOR OF ITS QUALITY. WHATEVER IT MEANS, IT SHOULD AT LEAST BRING SOME DEGREE OF RESPECT. SO HULK JUST WANT YOU TO REMEMBER THAT ANECDOTE IF YOU EVER GOING TO SEE THE FILM. SOMEONE YOU LIKELY RESPECT AS WELL, BELIEVES THERE REALLY IS SOMETHING AMAZING GOING ON HERE. NEITHER HE, NOR HULK, IS TELLING YOU WHAT TO THINK OR HOW TO RESPOND. JUST MAYBE IT WOULD BE GREAT IF YOU SHOULD TRY TO RECOGNIZE IT TOO.

10.

EVERYONE IN MARGARET IS A FULLY-REALIZED PERSON.

HULK'S NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT THE CENTRAL LEADS, BUT EVERY. DAMN. PERSON. THEY'RE ALL SO IMPOSSIBLY TEXTURED. THEY ALL HAVE RANGE. AND FRAILTIES. NEEDS. AND WANTS. THEY ALL HAVE A PROJECTION OF THEMSELVES. HULK TALKED A BIT ABOUT CHARACTER TREES IN HULK'S SCREENWRITING COLUMNS, BUT THIS MOVIE TOTALLY FEELS LIKE THE FLUSHING OUT OF CHARACTER TREES. SUCH SPECIFIC LOOKS, VOICES, DESIRES, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY THEY HAVE COMPLETE PSYCHOLOGIES. AND WITH ZERO INSINCERITY, HULK CAME TO UNDERSTAND EVERYONE IN THE FILM (BUT PLEASE NOT THINK HULK IMPLYING THAT LONERGAN DID IT BY USING CHARACTER TREES OR SOMETHING. HULK NOT TRYING TO IMPLY THAT AT ALL. IT JUST THAT THE BEST OF WHAT CHARACTER TREES CAN BRING, IN TERMS OF CREATING REAL-FEELING PEOPLE WITH COMPLETE PSYCHES, REALLY SEEMED TO SHINE IN THIS FILM).

ONE OF HULK'S FAVORITE MOMENTS IN THE FILM IS WHEN A CHARACTER'S RELATIVE COMES TO NEW YORK FROM NEW MEXICO (HULK THINK?) AND SHE'S GETTING DROPPED OFF IN A CAB. NOW THE AUDIENCE SORT OF DISLIKES THIS PERSON THUS FAR DESPITE NOT HAVING MET HER IN PERSON. SHE'S JUST SOME GREEDY RELATIVE. BUT WE FIRST SEE HER STEP OUT AND HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO INTERACT WITH THE CABBIE. HE IS GETTING HER BAGS, SHE AWKWARDLY TRIES TO HELP HIM CLOSE THE TRUNK, AND THEN AS SHE WALKS THROUGH HER NEW YORK CITY HOTEL, WIDE-EYED AND COMPLETELY CONFUSED. IT'S A PERFECT, FUNNY, OBSERVATIONAL MOMENT THAT TELLS YOU ABOUT THIS CHARACTERS HISTORY, CLASS, PSYCHOLOGY, AND RELATIVE HELPLESSNESS. YEAH, WE'RE STILL NOT GOING TO LIKE WHO THIS CHARACTER IS AND HOW THEY'RE GOING TO RUIN SOME THINGS IN SOME PART OF MOVIE, BUT NOW THEY FEEL LIKE A REAL PERSON. A FLAWED INNOCENT WHO SIMPLY WANTS SOMETHING. THAT'S WHAT GREAT STORYTELLING DOES.

AND THIS LITTLE DETAIL IS EXEMPLARY OF THE KIND OF OBSERVATION THE ENTIRE FILM DOES WELL.

11.

MARGARET IS ALSO TREMENDOUSLY FUNNY. THIS SHOULD BE MENTIONED. FROM THE MOROSE SORROW HULK HAS DESCRIBED SO FAR YOU SHOULD REALLY KNOW THAT. SERIOUSLY. HULK AND THE AUDIENCE LAUGHED FOR MOST OF THE FILM. IT'S SARDONIC AND BITING WITHOUT EVER REALLY BEING A SATIRE OR TOOTHSOME.

LIKE ALL OF ITS CHARACTERS, THE FILM IS HUMANE.

12.

IT IS ALSO AN EPIC.

MOST OF THE FILM'S DISTRIBUTION HELL STEMMED FROM THE FACT THAT THE FILM WAS COMING OUT TO ABOUT 3 HOURS. RIDICULOUS FOR AN INTIMATE HUMAN DRAMA YOU SAY? WELL, SO DID THE PRODUCERS, WHO SADLY HAD IT IN THE CONTRACT THAT THE FILM WOULD HAVE TO BE 2 AND A 1/2 HOURS. THERE WAS YEARS WORTH OF BATTLES AND FIGHTING OVER THE LENGTH AND DISTRIBUTION. SURE THE MOVIE" COULD BE SHORTER" BUT SO COULD THE CONSTITUTION. THAT STATEMENT MEANS NOTHING.

IS THERE A WASTED SCENE IN THE FILM? HULK DEFINITELY ARGUES NO. EVERY SINGLE SCENE IN THE FILM MANAGES TO EXPOUND ON THE CHARACTERS AND GIVE THEM SPACE, NUANCE AND MEANING. EVERY SCENE GAVE HULK A BETTER PEEK INTO WHO THESE CHARACTERS ARE AND WHAT KIND OF RANGE THEY HAVE AS A PERSON. AND JUST KNOWING THERE IS A 3 HOUR CUT OUT THERE MAKES HULK ALL THE MORE CURIOUS.

REALLY, IT JUST A FILM THAT HAS TO BE AS EPIC AS OUR EMOTIONS. AND AS FAR-DELVING AS OUR OWN PSYCHES.

... IN CASE YOU DON'T GET HULK'S MEANING, THAT'S A BUNCH.

13.

SCORSESE HAD A BELIEF THAT DIRECTOR CAMEOS WORK BEST WHEN THEY FEED INTO SOME KIND OF COMMENTARY EITHER ABOUT YOURSELF OR SOCIETY. TAKE HIS APPEARANCES IN TAXI DRIVER. YES, THAT'S RIGHT. APPEARANCES. HE FIRST APPEARS IN A DIRECT HITCHCOCKIAN REFERENCE SITTING TO THE SIDE OF A DOORWAY (HULK FORGET WHICH MOVIE HE'S REFERENCING TO BE HONEST) AND THEN HIS INFAMOUS LATER SCENE WHERE HE LAMENTS HIS WIFE CHEATING ON HIM WITH A BLACK MAN. NOW, SCORSESE WASN'T OBVIOUSLY LIKE THAT CHARACTER, BUT HE TALKED ABOUT HOW PLAYING THAT ROLE TOOK AWAY DISSOCIATION FOR THE AUDIENCE. BECAUSE IT WAS HIM SAYING THOSE LINES, IT MEANT THAT THE AUDIENCE COULDN'T JUST SHOVE IT AWAY AND PAWN THAT SENTIMENT ON SOME SCUMMY CHARACTER. HE WAS TRYING TO TAKING OWNERSHIP OF OUR OWN RACISM, EMASCULATION AND SUPPRESSED RAGE. HE DIDN'T WANT ANYONE TO GET AWAY WITH IT. HE WANTED TO SHOW THAT "YES THIS SENTIMENT MAY BELONG TO YOU TOO." IT COMPLETELY REMOVED AUDIENCE DISSOCIATION.

AND IN MARGARET, LONERGAN HIMSELF PLAYS THE ROLE OF THE FATHER. IS HE IN THE SAME CALIBER PERFORMANCE-WISE HERE? NO. BUT HE IS TAKING ON THE SCORSESE MANTRA TO A T. BY PLAYING THE DISTANT FATHER, HE ISN'T CALLING OUT THE BAD DISTANT HOLLYWOOD DADS WHO LIKE TO ALTERNATIVELY SCOOP THEIR KIDS UP FOR MAGIC WEEKENDS OR DISAPPOINT THEM. INSTEAD, HE IS BEING COMPLICIT. HE SAYS HERE: HERE, THIS IS WHAT I AM GUILTY OF. HERE IS WHAT I HAVE DONE WRONG. AND BY DOING THAT HE BRINGS THE FILM, THE AUDIENCE, AND HIS OWN LIFE TO A REAL PLACE OF HONESTY. THAT'S WHAT GOOD ART DOES.

COMPLICITY IS SOMETHING RARELY SEEN IN MUCH FILMMAKING THESE DAYS. AND EVEN FEWER KNOW HOW TO DO IT WELL. HULK THINKS LYNCH IS PRETTY GOOD ABOUT IT (ALBEIT IN A ROUNDABOUT WAY). HELL IT'S PRACTICALLY THE RAISON D'ETRE FOR MICHAEL HANEKE'S CAREER. BUT EVEN THEN, THOSE FILMMAKERS ARE PRETTY AGGRESSIVE ABOUT IT. RARELY HAS MAKING ONESELF COMPLICIT ALSO FELT SO HUMANE.

14.

J.SMITH CAMERON PLAYS LISA'S MOM, JOAN.

AND SHE IS INCREDIBLE.

IN CAST FULL OF GREAT PERFORMANCES SHE ABSOLUTELY DESERVES TO BE SINGLED OUT. IT IS A NEAR-PERFECT DISTILLATION OF MOTHERHOOD. OF COURSE, SO MUCH OF IT COMES FROM THE DEFT WRITING, BUT SHE BLENDS THIS PERFECT LINE OF CARING, APPREHENSION, UNSURENESS AND FRUSTRATION. SHE'S DEALING WITH A NEAR IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION (A TEENAGE GIRL IN TROUBLE) AND AT TIMES IS DOING WONDERFULLY WITH IT AND AT TIMES SAYING THE WORST POSSIBLE THING SHE COULD SAY. IT'S A SHAME IT WILL NOT BE SEEN MORE. HULK SIMPLY ADORED HER WORK IN THIS FILM.

15.

BUT NOT AS MUCH AS ANNA PAQUIN... GOOD GRAVY.

YOU KNOW THERE'S SOME ALTERNATE WORLD OUT THERE WHERE PEOPLE ARE STANDING CONGRATULATING HER ON THE STREET ABOUT WHAT SHE DOES IN MARGARET. IT'S NOT LIKE SHE GOES TO SOME DAY-LEWIS-IAN PLACE WHERE SHE EMBODIES THIS COMPLETE FOREIGN ENTITY. IT'S NOT GOOD IN THAT KIND OF WAY. IT'S JUST THAT HULK CANNOT NOT THINK OF A PERFORMANCE WITH MORE RANGE THAN THIS ONE. REALLY. HULK CAN'T.

THERE'S THE TIMES WHEN SHE'S POSTURING FOR GOOD. OR POSTURING FOR ANGER. THE TIMES SHE'S GENUINELY BEING GOOD. OR GENUINELY BEING ANGRY. THESE DICHOTOMIES RULE EVERY KIND OF EMOTION FOR HER. JEALOUSY. LUST. RIGHTEOUSNESS. LOVE. KINDNESS. SHE ALTERNATES SINCERITY AND INSINCERITY IN THESE EMOTIONS SO DEFTLY IT KIND OF AMAZING. SHE TRULY RUNS THE SPECTRUM HERE.

IT'S A MASTERCLASS.

16.

THE QUICK CUT TO JOHN GALLAGHER JR. CRYING IS AT ONCE AS FUNNY AS IT IS HEARTBREAKING. HULK HAS NEVER ONCE HEARD HALF AN AUDIENCE LAUGH, AND HALF AN AUDIENCE GO "AWWWWWWW" QUITE LIKE THEN.

17.

AS MUCH AS THE FILM POSITS THAT TEENAGERS BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY (I.E., MORE AWFULLY) THAN ADULTS THE FILM IS STILL CAREFUL TO SHOWCASE A NUMBER OF WAYS ADULTS CAN BE JUST, WELL, UN-ADULT. HULK ALREADY MENTIONED THE FATHER COWARDLY BACKING OUT OF PROMISES BECAUSE IT'S JUST EASIER. OR HOW THE MOTHER RESORTING TO ABUSIVE LANGUAGE OUT OF FRUSTRATION. BUT PERHAPS NO SCENE MAKES IT MORE OBVIOUS THAN "THE JEWISH RESPONSE" DISCUSSION OVER DINNER. IF ANYTHING REDUCES US TO RIGHTEOUS TEENAGERS QUICKLY, IT'S POLITICS. THANKS CABLE NEWS!

IT'S ALMOST AS IF LONERGAN SEEMS TO BE SAYING THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT "REAL ADULTS JUST DO IT LESS." THERE ARE FOR MORE ELEGANT WAYS TO PUT THAT, BUT HULK ACTUALLY FEEL THAT'S KIND OF FAIR. AND PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THE FACT WE ACT LIKE TEENAGERS LESS OFTEN IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT.

18.

AFTER THE MOVIE, HULK SAW A GREAT INTERACTION ON TWITTER BETWEEN TWO FRIENDS: FIRST, TODD GILCHRIST SAID THE FOLLOWING: "After a second viewing of MARGARET I'm convinced if nothing else it has the single best scene of any movie released last year."

WITH NO OTHER PROVOCATION, THE AFOREMENTIONED MR BEAKS SIMPLY HAD TO RESPOND: "King Lear" or "Strident?"

AND HE'S RIGHT ON EITHER COUNT.

THE "KING LEAR" SCENE MIGHT JUST BE ONE OF HULK'S ALL-TIME FAVES BECAUSE IT EXEMPLIFIES 2 ACADEMIC TENDENCIES HULK INTENSELY DISLIKES. THE FIRST IS THE WAY SOME STUDENTS WILL CLING TO POST-MODERNIST IDEA AS A WAY OF PREVENTING ANY FORM OF RELATIVE CERTAINTY IN A DISCUSSION. THE SECOND, IS BY STICKING TO THAT LACK OF CERTAINTY SO RIGIDLY THEY CAN DISMISS ANY OTHER CONCEIVABLE NOTIONS. MEANING THEIR BELIEF IN UNCERTAINTY ALLOWS THEM TO BE THE SOLE POSSESSOR OF A CERTAINTY, IF THAT MAKES SENSE. THIS MAY NOT SEEM LIKE A BIG DEAL, BUT IF YOU'VE EVER TAUGHT, STUDENTS UNWITTINGLY GO THERE ALL THE TIME. AND IT BASICALLY REDUCES ANY PRODUCTIVE CONVERSATION TO SOME PSEUDO-INTELLECTUAL VANILLA GARBAGE.

SO WATCHING BRODERICK BASICALLY HAVE A CALM-BUT-MINI-MELTDOWN DEALING WITH THIS SMART-ASS WHO THINKS HE'S REACHING A HIGHER TRUTH AND THE REAL INTENTIONS OF SHAKESPEARE IS ONE OF THE MORE CATHARTIC THINGS HULK HAS EVER SEEN ON A MOVIE SCREEN... IT'S ALSO HILARIOUS.

AS FOR "STRIDENT" IT IS REALLY THE CULMINATION OF THE ENTIRE FILM. LISA HAS BEEN SO RIGHTEOUS, SO WILLING TO TAKE ON THE CARES OF THE WORLD, THAT WHEN SHE ACTUALLY GOES A STEP TOO FAR IN TAKING GRIEF FROM SOMEONE WHO HAS GENUINE REASON TO BE MOURNFUL... ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. THERE ARE VERY FEW SHOUTING MATCHES THAT WORK WELL IN FILM. THE KEY IS TO UNDERSTAND THE SHOUTING DOESN'T DO THE TRICK OF PROVIDING THE IMPORTANCE, BUT THE WORDS AND FEELINGS BEHIND HIM.

TO WATCH ANNA PAQUIN, WHO AT FIRST IS MERELY EXPRESSING HER ANGER, AND THEN KEEP GOING AS SHE IS HURT BY THIS CHARACTER SUDDENLY BEING ANGRY WITH THEM, AND THEN KEEP GOING AS SHE IS HEARTBROKEN AND MERELY TRYING TO EXPLAIN HERSELF... IS... IT'S... IT'S POWERFUL. IT'S... UGH. HULK IS AT LOSS FOR WORDS.

SHE IS SO SINCERE THAT SHE CANNOT UNDERSTAND THAT BEING RIGHT IS THE LEAST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD. SHE THINKS SHE IS SIMPLY BEING MISINTERPRETED, WHEN SHE IS BEING INTERPRETED PERFECTLY. IT IS THE PERFECT DISTILLATION OF A TEENAGER WHO SIMPLY CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT OUTSIDE THEMSELVES. IT IS WELL-MEANING SOLIPSISM IN A NUTSHELL.

19.

SO REALLY, MARGARET ALMOST DIDN'T GET RELEASED AND EVEN THEN IT HAD AN UTTER SHIT RELEASE?

YUP.

HOW CAN THAT BE?

THIS FILM HAD TWO PRODUCERS FIGHTING FOR IT DURING PRODUCTION: SYDNEY POLLOCK AND ANTHONY MINGHELLA... YEAH... BOTH OF THEM TRAGICALLY DIED DURING POST-PRODUCTION. IT IS A HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE THING. BOTH WERE CINEMATIC GIANTS. AND IT SUCKS BECAUSE NOT ONLY DID WE LOSE OUT ON MORE YEARS OF THEIR WORK, SUDDENLY THIS FILM LOST TWO OF ITS BIGGEST CHAMPIONS. IN THE END, IT JUST HAD NO ELSE LEFT TO FIGHT FOR IT.

20.

BUT IT HAS TO BE ASKED... IS MARGARET JUST TRUFFLES?

TRUFFLES ARE AN INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE FOOD THAT PEOPLE LOVE AND CHERISH. IN PART BECAUSE THEY HAVE THIS HIGHLY ALLURING SMELL, BUT THE MAIN REASON IS BECAUSE OF THEIR RARITY. THEY HAVE TO BE SOUGHT AFTER AND ONLY APPEAR AT CERTAIN POINTS OF THE SEASON. SO THERE IS A REAL TEMPTATION TO THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE MARGARET GOT SO UTTERLY SHAFTED, THAT BECAUSE IT WAS SO HARD TO SEE, THAT IT REALLY NEEDS PEOPLE TO FIGHT FOR IT, THAT PERHAPS WE HAVE A PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPERATIVE TO THINK IT IS BETTER THAN IT ACTUALLY IS... EVEN IF IT IS VERY GOOD.

HERE'S WHY HULK HAS A PROBLEM WITH THAT: THERE IS NO OTHER CONTEXT. THIS IS HOW THE FILM WAS RELEASED. TO ASSUME IT WOULD BE DIFFERENT IN ANY OTHER RELEASE WOULD BE, JUST THAT, ASSUMPTIVE. AND THAT GETS INTO A PROVERBIAL CHICKEN/EGG DISCUSSION, SO WHY EVEN GO DOWN THAT ROAD?

AND WHY DO WE ALWAYS PLAY POP-PSYCHOLOGIST AND ASSUME PEOPLE DON'T HAVE GOOD REASONS FOR CALLING SOMETHING A MASTERPIECE? HULK GENUINELY LIKES TO BELIEVE IN PEOPLE'S ABILITY TO PROCESS MOVIES OUTSIDE THAT KIND OF "IS IT COOL TO LIKE IT?" CONTEXT. ULTIMATELY, THESE KINDS OF REDUCTIVE, SOCIAL-BASED THEORIES ARE LIKELY TO BE THE KIND OF INSULTS HURLED BY A PERPETUAL CONTRARIAN.

HULK MEAN, FUCK, IF YOU'RE IN THERE FOR 2 AND HALF HOURS IT'S KIND OF HARD TO PRETEND.

21.

SO THE MOVIE ACTUALLY HAS A FRAMING DEVICE AND IT'S AMAZING.

EARLIER IN THE FILM, LISA AND HER MOTHER HAVE A DISCUSSION ABOUT OPERA. OR HULK SHOULD SAY THAT JOAN SIMPLY WANTS TO TAKE HER TO THE OPERA. LISA COMPLAINS THAT SHE DOESN'T LIKE OPERA, CITING: "It's like their entire reason for existing is to prove how loud they can be. I really don't find that all that interesting." AND FROM THERE THEY GET IN AN EPIC FIGHT.

THE TWO OF THEM (JUST AS BEAKS NOTICE ABOVE) ARE OPERA. AND THEY SPEND THE NEXT FEW HOURS PROVING IT.

SO THE END COMES (SPOILERS FOR REST OF THIS POINT #21? HULK GUESS YOU CAN HAVE SPOILERS IN THIS KIND OF MOVIE, BUT HULK ABOUT TO TALK ABOUT THE END. COME BACK AT 22 IF YOU WANT TO AVOID). AND THERE THEY ARE, FINALLY GOING TO THE OPERA. THE CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING TO THEM BOTH AGREEING TO GO HAVE BEEN UNFORTUNATE AND DEEPLY SAD. THE TWO OF THEM HAVE BEEN TO EMOTIONAL HELL AND BACK. AND AS LISA SITS THERE LISTENING TO THIS BEAUTIFUL EXCHANGE OF PEOPLE "PROVING HOW LOUD THEY CAN BE." ... SHE STARTS TO CRY. AND THEN BREAK DOWN. AND THERE'S HER MOTHER. SHES CRIES. THEN BREAKS DOWN.

THEY SOB INTO EACH OTHERS' ARMS; A MIX OF SORROW, APOLOGIES, HYSTERIA, AND INESCAPABLE HUMAN EMOTION.

HULK SAYS IT ALL THE TIME.. THE ENDING IS THE CONCEIT.

... AND THERE WERE FEW DRY EYES IN THE HOUSE.

22.

OFFERING THE AUDIENCE THEMATIC RESONANCE BY USE OF A POEM IS OFTEN... KIND OF CHEAP. BUT THIS FILM PROBABLY HAS THE BEST USE HULK HAS EVER SEEN. FOR ONE, IT'S NOT SOME BLAND SUMMARY. IT'S ACTUALLY A TOOL OF INSTRUMENTATION MIDWAY THROUGH THE PLOT. IT IS MEANT TO CLARIFY WHERE THE STORY IS HEADING AND WHY. AND WHILE IT DOES, IT SHOWS US POOR LISA, BARELY LISTENING...

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

POOR LISA... IT PROBABLY COULD HAVE HELPED. FOR IT WAS HERSELF THAT SHE WAS TRULY MOURNING FOR.

IT WAS HER FIRST TASTE OF THOSE SAD, SURREAL, HAUNTING FIRST MOMENTS OF ADULTHOOD. AND HOW THEY TERRIFY US INTO BEING THE WORST THAT TEENAGERS CAN OFFER.

AND KENNETH LONERGAN MADE A MASTERPIECE ABOUT IT.

***

AND SO CONCLUDES HULK'S 22 THOUGHTS ABOUT MARGARET.

HULK HAS SAID A FEW TIMES BEFORE THAT MOVIES ARE GIFTS.

IF THAT'S TRUE, THEN THIS IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THEM.

Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMA RADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.
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