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film stars don't die in liverpool


Director: paul mcguigan (push, victor frankenstein)

Starring: annette bening, jamie bell, julie walters, and kenneth cranham


REVIEWER: lyall carter

Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame finds romance and happiness with a younger man, but her life changes forever when she is diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1970s.

Sometimes I like watching a film with very little idea of what it is that I'm about to watch. In a world of sequels, franchises, and reboots where you half know what to expect because of previous outings or excessive advertising, a new story from another place and time can be a real treat. 


Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool is that kinda movie. I'd noticed it during awards season when Bening and Bell's faces were played among those nominated who were never really on track to win given McDormad's and Rockwell's rightly lauded performances in Three Billboards.  

The true story opens with Gloria Grahame, a once famous American actress, falling ill and we begin to flash backwards and forwards between present day and the blossoming of her romance with the much younger actor Peter Turner. If there ever was a Hollywood tragic love story it is this one - deep, anguishing, and sacrificial. 

The changing between flash backs and 'real time' in the movie was achieved in such a simple but inventive way that it tickled my film nerdiness.

It does without saying that Bening was brilliant, wonderfully capturing the voice and mannerisms of Gloria Grahame as well as her almost child like nature. Bell is superb as the star crossed lover, desperate for Grahame to recover and to return to who she used to be. It was a joy to see Bell reunited with Billy Elliot co - star Julie Walters  who is wonderful as the caring but protective Liverpudlian matriarch.

Annette Bening and Jamie Bell's performances are a thing of wonder and in any other award seasons would be more than worthy winners.  Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool is a film for those who love a cracking story and fine acting. 


Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool is available on DVD and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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