Written & Directed By: Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland
Cinematography By: Michael Simmonds
Editor: Robin Katz
Cast: Kevin Kilne, Susan Sarandon, Dakota Fanning, Max Caseslla, Bryan Batt, Sean Flynn
The true story of Beverly Aadland, a teen starlet who became the last girlfriend of legendary swashbuckler Errol Flynn…
While this plays as a great behind the scenes look at a scandal. It never manages to rise to a respectable manner and always feels tawdry and sleazy. Even if the actors are top knotch and try to raise the material higher. It feels not necessarily disrespectful but a tabloid tale brought to life.
Where we get more of a tale of a determined stage mother willing to sacrifice everything for her daughter to find fame. Though strangely more at her daughters expense.
The film provides a certain aspect to some part of the trivia and legend of Errol Flynn especially in his last years. That makes the film seem like a partial lost romance. That seems like a fling and fascination. Blowing it up as more of a kind of reenactment and explanation. While based loosely on known or certain facts. while tearing down his character to at least Present him As spoiled and selfish yet charming and human
I will admit, I have seen Errol Flynn portrayed on film or movies about him. Then I have actually seen films he starred in or otherwise. So I am more familiar with his legend and stories then his cinema or talent.
While it might provide a certain education to those longing for Hollywood history in live action and shines a light on a common told tale, only here we see the more intimate details while not being graphic.
It recreates period not as grand and magical as commonly it feels more fact based as it shows more the minutae and small scale. Though always having overwhelmingly bright lights.
We’ve seen betrayals of predatory stage mothers. Here brought to life by Susan Sarandon. Who seems more basic here as she seems to try more a closed off character. She hasn’t played as much in her career more manipulative and not as kind hearted.
Kevin Kline while not overwhelming is one of the reasons to see the film. It’s always nice to see him on the big screen and especially in a leading role. While not as likeable and animated as usual still showcases his own charm. While also inhabiting a living legend and the legend charm.
Playing him as a man who’s Seems like a perfect party host and the dinner party guest. Rather then an actor luckily he has classics under his belt as his personal life and reputation have taken over and being noted for that rather then his actual talent
It also shines alight on Flynn’s what it seems a weakness or it seems a commonality with certain stars including Charlie Chaplin that had a weakness for young underage girls. He seems to get a pass. Looking back though most would agree a pedophile and might find it uncomfortable to see it played as more a romance rather then it’s obvious creepiness and distasteful manner, but i am not here to play a moralist. As their legends seen to stay and audiences and fans turn a blind eye. Offering the excuse it was a different time.
The film plays more melodramatic and slow. It never catches fire and move full speed ahead. It just seems to move along predictable. Nothing really interesting or exciting ever comes about. Though tries to tie itself to the time period with the use of stock footage and rear projection.
Dakota Fanning is working her way more into older roles. Though a seduction and romance with sex involved, we never see her graphically shown and is kept relatively clean and put more on screen. Though moving in into roles she has talent for. Though leaves you still wondering when she won’t seem like a teenage playing dress up.
Also unbelievable in the film is that the father in one scene would protest against and then so willingly cut loose his family. Only a few minutes later, feels false especially with little to no build up. Nor even hints. It could have easily been explored more or come up with a reason for. Feels like the stuff of TV movies. Or a mid-budgeted TRUE HOLLYWOOD TALES with actual stars. Which would be easy to compare to modern day versions, some might say like Kris Kardashian with her family.
Though the film shows the wear and tear of the relationship as well as her waining interest and boredom. In the end it plays as a love story told by the mother more, but we see the parts she might not have been a part of, thought that is what the role in particular call for here.
It seems everyone here seems to be their own worst enemy, only Beverly comes off as sympathetic. Flynn comes off as sad and delusional. Grasping at past glory on the road to hell and knowing it. Knowing his actions are wrong, but with limited time and wants as much pleasure as can before the end. Luckily the film doesn’t play as a fantasy. It shows the highs and lows, challenges and hardships. We are let in though never have things explained to us. The full complexities are not an exact science.
The film’s real-life character, Ronnie Shedio, served as a personal assistant to Errol Flynn and also as a consultant to the movie’s directors before his death in 2007.
Co-director/co-writer Richard Glatzer developed a neurological disorder depriving him of speech during the making of the movie and had to speak by using his iPad. It took Glatzer and partner Wash Westmoreland 10 years to track down the interview tapes Florence Aadland had made for her book The Big Love’.
I just have to add Kevin Kline is just one of those actors who is the last of a dying breed. There are very few left, who you or at least I will watch in anything no matter how bad the films sounds or looks. Just to watch his performance. Which will usually be energetic and entertaining. Though these days in most roles he sounds more intellectual. He is an underused asset and usually the best thing and performance in disappointing films like THE EXTRA MAN, FRENCH KISS, I LOVE YOU TO DEATH and FIERCE CREATURES even the saving graces in dreadful films such as NO STRINGS ATTACHED, WILD WILD WEST (which really seemed to damage his career as he wasn’t exactly in that many movies at the time either) and LAST VEGAS. I can’t say he is my favorite leading man but he is one of my favorites. The only one I will go out of my way to see. As other then charm even playing dispicible characters you never know what you are going to exactly get from him. Not an actor who is easy to read, yet never feels like he is doing things to be wacky or draw attention to himself or performance. He makes it all look natural and organic. Been a fan since SILVERADO and A FISH CALLED WANDA.
I was reminded of this as Watching him in THE LAST OF ROBIN HOOD. Which is almost like a continuation of his portrayal of Errol Flynn in CHAPLIN. Less spirited and more remorseful here as he and the actor he portrays are both older and later in life.
Like the matinee idol he plays here he reminds one of the classic leading man type energetic, literate, charming, tough, handsome witty and tall. He is the full package and while easily could come off as a wasp. Seems much deeper than his presentation.
Just as others see Tom Hanks as a leading man every man, Who they admire and would want to hang out with. No insult intended I always saw Kevin Kline as that type also, though he is more type cast as a wasp and rarely gets to show his range as much. He always has star quality and a positive personality. He has the looks, the physicality and the diction. That makes him remind you of the classic star, Leading man of yesteryear.
Kevin Kline worked with a trainer 3 hours a day in order to give himself the physical look in order to portray the physically fit, 18+ years younger Errol Flynn of the time period in the movie